Federal Sentences: More Severe than State-Level Criminal Cases

 Posted on January 27, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a crime at the federal level, you can expect a longer prison term. On average, those charged with a federal crime were sentenced to 145 months, or 12 years, in prison. In contrast, offenders charged with a state crime served an average prison sentence of 3.8 years in Illinois.

Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel would like to discuss what makes federal sentences more severe than state-level criminal cases and the advantages of hiring a Chicago federal criminal lawyer to represent your interests.

Why Federal Charges Are More Severe Than State Charges

Federal-level charges are noticeably more severe than state-level charges for the same or similar crime. There are a few main reasons for this, such as:

Federal Crimes are Investigated by Federal Agencies

Federal crimes are investigated by federal agencies, all overseen by the Department of Justice. The federal government will be thorough in its investigation, uncovering any piece of incriminating evidence against you. 

For instance, if you are being accused of an act of terrorism, both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security will be investigating the matter. As of date, the FBI employs over 30,000 special agents, with the Department of Homeland Security employing 6,000 special agents.

Higher Minimum Sentences

Federal sentencing guidelines take many factors under consideration, including the seriousness of the offense, the base offense level (there are 43 levels), specific characteristics of the offense, adjustments, and whether the offender has a criminal history. 

Federal judges must adhere to the minimum sentence length that is dictated in federal sentencing guidelines. However, prosecutors at the state level have more discretion in negotiating plea bargains. State judges also have more options when deciding upon sentence terms, which means that offenders are usually serving significantly less time.

Harsher Penalties

Punishments for state crimes are governed by the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012. In the Prairie State, the most severe felony category, a Class 1 felony, carries a prison sentence of 6-30 years, with a maximum fine of $25,000. In contrast, an individual convicted of a Class A federal felony, the most serious federal felony, may serve life in prison, with a maximum fine of $250,000.

The Advantages of Hiring a Federal Criminal Lawyer

If you are up against federal charges, you want a defense lawyer who has experience dealing with the federal court system. Federal and state court procedures differ greatly, with the prosecution in federal cases having access to testimony from the above-mentioned federal agencies. 

If you have been recently arrested or charged with a federal crime, our Chicago federal criminal lawyer can answer any questions you may have.

Consult with a Chicago, IL, Federal Criminal Lawyer Today

If you are facing federal charges, you need a Chicago, IL, federal criminal lawyer who is not fazed by the intensity of such trials. Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney is here to provide aggressive representation when you need it most. Contact Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today online or by calling 312-629-0669 to schedule your free consultation. 

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