Felon In Possession of a Firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g), Federal Gun Charges
Why am I facing federal charges rather than state charges on my gun case? In recent years the federal court system has been taking a very aggressive stance against gun cases. The federal courts have the option the exercise jurisdiction any case that is “in or affecting interstate commerce….”. The prosecutor can prove the possession of a firearm was “in or affecting interstate commerce” if they can prove the gun crossed state lines prior to the time the person possessed the weapon, or the if the gun was manufactured in another state. Basically, the federal system is charging these cases because the penalties are generally more severe.
The sentencing process in federal court is likely very different from the process in state court. Federal courts must first use the United States Sentencing Guidelines when deciding the appropriate sentence in each individual case. The federal sentencing chart is divided into “Offense Levels” and Criminal History Categories.
All federal crimes are assigned an “Offense Level”. Offense levels start at 0 and end at 43. All federal crimes have a base offense level, or a starting offense level based on the actual crime of conviction. The offense level can increase based on “aggravating factors”. Aggravating factors are circumstances or events surrounding the crime that make it more serious than the average crime of that type. For example, in felon in possession of firearms cases, it is an aggravating factor if the firearm is a semiautomatic weapon that is capable of accepting a large capacity magazine.
In every case, a person falls into a Criminal History Category. These categories start at 1 and end at 6. This is based on a person’s prior criminal record. A person receives points for convictions if they fall within a certain time frame. Where the offense level and criminal history category meet is the recommended sentence under the guidelines.
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are only the starting point for the judge. The judge is then required to consider other factors, including a person’s background, history and other characteristics. This is a crucial part of the sentencing process. Learning about a defendant’s upbringing through interviewing them, family members and friends and reviewing records helps your lawyer present that information to the court. It is very important for the judge to know there are people who love and care about them and that the crime does not define that person.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal gun offense case it is critical that you get a lawyer that is experienced handling cases in federal courts. Attorney Barshaunda Robinson is highly experienced in federal court litigation. Attorney Robinson accepts cases in Columbus, Ohio and throughout the entire United States.