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Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers in Chicago Illinois

Federal Sentencing Law

Have questions about federal sentencing law and how to avoid consecutive prison sentences? Hire an experienced Chicago federal trial attorney to get the best result for your federal case. Call our Illinois federal case defense lawyers today at (312) 466-9466.

Federal sentencing law is complex. A mistake by an attorney can have devastating consequences for a defendant, and one of the biggest risks is having a Federal judge impose a consecutive sentence rather than a concurrent sentence.

A consecutive sentence means that two or more prison sentences are served one after the other. This results in more prison time after a conviction because the total sentence period is the sum of the years in prison for each of the individual prison sentences.

Concurrent prison sentences are better because all prison sentences occur simultaneously, and the total prison sentence period is equal to the longest prison sentence. In a case where a prison sentence is inevitable, our federal case criminal defense lawyers in Chicago will take steps to ensure that sentences are concurrent, rather than consecutive.

As an example, in a case where there is a three-year prison sentence and a two-year prison sentence, handling this matter correctly can be the difference between spending three years in prison versus getting a five-year prison sentence in which three years in prison are served and then an additional two years in prison are served for the second prison sentence.

The risk of a consecutive sentence is especially true for individuals who face charges in both Federal and State court. For example, a person who is on probation in State court and who is charged with a Federal crime runs the very real risk of a consecutive sentence.

This is true because, first, 18 U.S.C. Section 3584(a) states, in part, "Multiple terms of imprisonment imposed at different times run consecutively unless the court orders that the terms are to run concurrently." Plead guilty in Federal court while on State probation and whatever sentence you receive in state court will be added to your federal sentence, no matter what the State court judge says, unless the Federal judge orders the sentences to be served concurrently.

A Federal judge can also order that a federal sentence run concurrent to a state court sentence, even one that has yet to be imposed. The issue of whether a Federal judge can impose a sentence to be served consecutive to an unimposed State sentence was recently ruled on by the United States Supreme Court in Setser v. United States. Up to that point, some Circuits, such as the 5th Circuit, ruled that District Courts had discretion to make a defendant's sentence either concurrent with or consecutive to any sentence anticipated in the separate state-court proceedings. (This was not true at the time in the 7th Circuit, where the court had held in Romandine v. United States that the court could not impose a consecutive or concurrent sentence with an unimposed State sentence.)

The Supreme Court held that a federal district court has the authority to order that a federal sentence be consecutive to an anticipated state sentence that has not yet been imposed.

Therefore, defendants must convince a Federal judge to order any federal sentence to run concurrently with any State sentence if they want to avoid spending time in both State and Federal prisons.

While there are many attorneys in Illinois for Federal cases, using our Federal case attorneys in Chicago can ensure that you get the best possible results for your Federal criminal case.

If you or a loved one are involved in a federal criminal case, call our office today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you. We can be reached at (312) 466-9466.

Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer - (312) 466-9466 

Chicago Office

900 W. Jackson Blvd.

Suite 5W

Chicago, IL 60607

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