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Federal Career Offender
Career Offender

Designation as a Career Offender can significantly raise the guidelines of someone charged with a federal crime. In many instances, guidelines ranges can be raised by factors of five, and result in guidelines scores of 20 to 40 years higher than the defendant would otherwise face. Career Offenders must have at least two prior felonies. The instant offense must be for a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. Prior felony convictions can be either federal or state convictions. It is irrelevant whether the defendant was sentenced to a prison term in the state or federal case.

Post the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Booker the federal guidelines are advisory to the sentencing court and are no longer binding. Therefore, it is important to work with attorneys who are experienced in federal sentencing in your case. There is beginning to be a powerful trend in the courts toward the easing of the draconian nature of the sentencing guidelines. Creative arguments have finally begun to turn the tide.

United States Sentencing Guidelines ยง 4B1.1

(a) A defendant is a career offender if (1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.

This enhancement has a devastating impact on a defendant's Guidelines range. It requires that the defendant be placed in the highest possible criminal history category (VI) and also drastically increases the offense level based of the statutes maximum sentence allowed.

At Laguzzi Law, we have successfully negotiated many below guideline sentences for clients who ended their case with a guilty plea. Although we are skilled trial attorneys, a great majority of cases end in a plea agreement with the government. An impeccable reputation and relationship with the Government also aids the outcome for the client. Early negotiations to set the case up for a proper disposition is, many times, the key to any good settlement of the matter short of a trial.


The statements above constitute general advice and do not form an attorney-client privilege. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment to officially retain counsel. (c) 2011.

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