Career Offender

As if being charged with a Federal Crime wasn’t enough, if you are charged with a certain type of offense in Federal Court, your criminal history category can be accelerated to a level six, the most severe criminal history category and your base offense level could increase as well, leading to a much longer possible prison term. Regardless of what sentence timeline you’re subject to, a classification as a career offender is devastating. Our Federal court system is much different than Florida’s State courts or most other State court systems for that matter. Though both Federal and State criminal courts seek to achieve the same result, the means of doing so are drastically different. Federal criminal attorney Jason Mayberry practices in our Federal Criminal courts consistently and commits himself daily to staying current with the ever changing sentencing guidelines and policies of the Department of Justice and our United States Attorney’s Offices. If you’ve been charged with a Federal crime or have received a Target Letter suspecting you of wrongdoing, contact Tampa Federal criminal lawyer Jason Mayberry and put his knowledge and tenacity to work for you.

What is Federal Career Offender?

Career Offender is a dreaded status that automatically vests upon a Federal criminal defendant if that person is currently charged with a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense and the defendant has two prior crimes of violence or controlled substance offenses. For the prior “predicate” crimes to count toward career offender, the person must have been sentenced or served time on those crimes within the last 15 years. When one is classified as a Career Offender their criminal history category automatically goes to a level 6, the most serious classification on the Federal Sentencing Table. If that wasn’t enough depending on the statutory maximum for the crime alleged, a person’s base offense level can increase to a higher base offense level as laid out in Federal Sentencing Guideline 4B1.1. In other words, if someone is facing a charge punishable by life and their base offense level is a 32, if they are classified as a Career Offender they will now have a base offense level of 37 in a criminal history category of 6. Unlike a 21 USC 851 enhancement for a Federal drug crime, Federal Career Offender is automatic rather than discretionary for the United States Attorney.

How Can We Help?

Just because one is charged with a serious offense and the enhancements that accompany, it doesn’t mean a diligent effort from a Federal criminal lawyer can’t overcome your charge or mitigate the damage presented. As with any criminal allegation there is the possibility of taking your case to trial in the hope of earning a complete acquittal. If your case isn’t appropriate for trial, depending on the facts, there may be a possibility of negotiating your charged offense to one that doesn’t qualify for Career offender status. If the charged offense doesn’t subject you to Career Offender, your possible penalty will always be considerably less severe.

Federal Sentencing Guideline 4A1.3(b)(3)(A) allows for a downward departure of your criminal history category by one level if your criminal history category over-represents the seriousness of your criminal history. This is often useful in drug cases where a defendant has a history involving jail time for petty offenses like driving on a suspended license or trespassing. Often courts will deem an offense history consisting of petty misdemeanors insignificant and allow for the 4A1.3 departure.

Even though 4A1.3 only allows for one level of criminal history “departure,” there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Federal criminal court imposing a lesser sentence based upon a variance in accord with Federal Statute 18 USC 3553(a). In the 11th Circuit case of United States v. Williams, 435 F.3d 1350, the sentencing Court took into consideration 18 USC 3553(a) sentencing factors in handing down a sentence of only 90 months rather than the called for Career Offender guideline range of 188-235 months. In doing this, the sentencing Court was able to get around guideline restrictions and sentence in the fashion they deemed appropriate. Because they had used “variances” rather than “departures” in imposing their sentence, it was permissible.

If you’ve been charged with a Federal crime contact Federal criminal lawyer Jason Mayberry today at 813-444-7435 or at 727-771-3847 or online for a free consultation.