What Will the Sentence be if I Lose?
If the defendant is convicted at the trial, the case is set for sentencing. Sentencing in state court is very different from sentencing in federal court. In New York State courts, judges typically have a wide range of sentences they can impose including fines, imprisonment or community service, among other things. In federal courts, judges until this year were required to follow the United States Sentencing Guidelines. However, the Supreme Court ruled on January 12, 2005 that these mandatory guidelines are unconstitutional. The guidelines are therefore now merely advisory, though they still have great influence in federal cases. An accurate understanding of the potential Sentencing Guidelines is essential for defending a case in federal court.