In Need of a Criminal Defense Attorney for Plea Negotiations in Federal Court?
At the Griffin Law Office, APC, our federal criminal defense attorney in San Diego, Patrick Griffin, has extensive experience representing clients throughout California in federal courts — including those entering plea negotiations with U.S. Attorneys.
If our client pleads guilty as part of a plea agreement, there is no trial, but the next step is to prepare for a sentencing hearing.
According to the Office of the United States Attorneys, “a defendant may only plead guilty if they actually committed the crime and admits to doing so in open court before the judge. When the defendant admits to the crime, they agree they are guilty, and they agree that they may be “sentenced” by the judge presiding over the court — the only person authorized to impose a sentence. Sometimes, the Government will agree, as part of a plea agreement, not to recommend an enhanced sentence (such as additional time in prison for certain reasons), but it is left up to the judge to determine how the defendant will be punished.”
Although plea negotiations in federal court may seem straightforward, plea bargaining in federal criminal cases is not the same as reaching a plea deal in a state-level case. Federal criminal cases have different laws, rules, and specific considerations.
Federal criminal cases that are resolved by plea agreement often feature lengthy written documents outlining in great detail the factual admissions the defendant is making, the rights the defendant and the government are agreeing to waive or give up, the agreement of the parties as to sentencing, and other information.
This is where our skilled San Diego County federal criminal defense lawyer shines.
At the Griffin Law Office, our attorney meticulously reviews each plea negotiation detail because this is one of the most critical documents in a federal criminal case and may be the subject of lengthy negotiation between our office and the U.S. Attorney proposing the agreement.
Here, we explain those details and how we can help ensure our clients get the most from their plea negotiations in federal court.
What Goes Into a Plea Negotiation in California Federal Court?
The first feature of a federal plea agreement is the charge or charges to which the defendant agrees to plead guilty. These may include the charges they were indicted on or substituted charges proposed by the U.S. Attorney in the interest of justice.
The factual basis of the federal plea agreement is one of the most essential features and substantially impacts sentencing.
It includes the specific facts and evidence supporting the defendant’s guilty plea, serves as a detailed narrative of the defendant’s criminal conduct, and helps establish a factual foundation for the charges to which they are pleading guilty.
That typically includes:
- Admission of Guilt.
- Detailed Account of the Criminal Conduct.
- Elements of the Offense.
- Stipulated Facts.
- Criminal Statutes.
- Victim Impact Statements, when Relevant.
- Details Supporting Each Charge.
- Waiver of Rights.
Notably, the agreement will include a statement confirming that the defendant understands the consequences of his or her guilty plea and that it was entered knowingly and voluntarily.
The plea agreement also contains the parties’ agreement about which sentencing factors apply under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The parties will often stipulate a base offense level, enhancements for specific offense conduct, a criminal history category based on the defendant’s prior record, and any departures or variances that the parties can mutually agree are appropriate.
These determinations do not legally bind the judge, as the judge is not a party to the agreement. The judge may follow the agreement’s recommendations or institute sentencing requirements based on their knowledge of the case and what they feel is just. This is why having a skilled federal criminal defense attorney is paramount to your agreement’s success. We can help.
How Can the Griffin Law Office Help With Plea Negotiations in California Federal Courts?
Our San Diego criminal defense attorney plays a crucial role in plea negotiations in federal court, advocating for our client’s best interests and attempting to secure the most favorable outcome.
It is common for a U.S. Attorney to charge a defendant with the most severe offense possible to motivate them to plead guilty to a lesser charge through a plea agreement. While this agreement may help the defendant secure a lesser charge and sentence, it is crucial that a skilled federal defense attorney participates in the plea to ensure their rights are protected.
At the Griffin Law Office, our California federal please negotiation attorney will:
- Conduct a thorough analysis of the evidence and legal issues surrounding the case.
- Scrutinize the terms of any proposed plea agreement to ensure that they are fair and in the defendant’s best interest.
- Engage in skilled negotiations with the U.S. Attorney, bargaining for reduced charges, dismissal of specific counts, or a more favorable sentencing recommendation.
- Outline the federal sentencing guidelines to provide informed advice on potential sentencing outcomes.
- Argue for a more lenient sentence by highlighting the defendant’s remorse, cooperation, lack of a criminal history, or other factors that could influence the sentencing decision.
Contact Our Skilled Attorney at Griffin Law Office Today
Contact our skilled San Diego federal criminal defense attorney to learn more about your legal rights, the best way to minimize your penalties, and how we accomplish favorable outcomes for each of our client’s unique needs by calling 619-269-2131 to discuss the details of your case today. Do not leave your future to chance. We can help.