Why is knowledge of the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) important for defendants?
Dallas criminal defense attorney, John Teakell, shares why knowing the US federal sentencing guidelines is useful for defendant.
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Well, knowing how the sentencing guidelines apply to a defendant and what to do with them is very important in the federal system because if a person is again, found guilty pursuant to a plea agreement or at trial, you are facing the application of the sentencing guidelines. If you have questions such as, I was a lower level player than someone else, why should this apply to me? What are the amounts that apply? How come I’m getting these points added? How come I don’t get these points taken away? You can sometimes almost agree with the US Attorney’s office as to which may apply and which don’t. A lot of times it’s a function of the application as it relates to your particular effects and if those things are not worked out so to speak, or if you don’t know exactly what it’s going to be going in, you’ll have to litigate it at sentencing and be prepared to make the arguments as to lower your points by lowering the quantity amounts or taking off certain enhancements that you believe should not apply.