Very often, a person charged with a Federal offense has no idea what he or she faces at sentencing. Unfortunately, many attorneys who claim to be experienced in federal criminal defense also have no idea what their client faces as a likely sentence. In many cases, this happens because the attorney did not take the time to thoroughly investigate a client's educational and employment background, personal history, medical history, family history, any prior criminal record, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to calculate the Total Offense Level and applicable Criminal History.
The result of this ignorance can be disastrous. Our appeals attorneys have represented many people who were wrongly advised or misadvised by a previous lawyer as to what their Federal sentencing exposure was. Based upon this bad legal advice, they made a decision to accept a plea bargain, or go to trial, only to be unpleasantly surprised by a sentence that they did not expect – one much more harsh and excessive than they anticipated.