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Sentencing Guidelines

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Can Weigh Heavily in Your South Carolina Case

Columbia trial lawyer fights for justice in criminal sentences

In 1984, the U.S. Sentencing Commission issued guidelines designed to ensure that federal judges give similar punishments to defendants convicted of the same crime. For years, federal courts treated the sentencing guidelines as binding, but in 2005 in United States v. Booker, the Supreme Court ruled that the guidelines are advisory only. Nevertheless, they still greatly influence federal court judges, who have relied on them for decades. To serve your interests at sentencing, your criminal defense attorney must have a thorough knowledge of the guidelines and make a reasoned argument for leniency. With more than 40 years of criminal defense experience in the federal courts, Jack B. Swerling, Attorney at Law, in Columbia, SC is prepared to argue for lenient sentencing consistent with the facts of your case and the principles of the sentencing guidelines.

Federal sentencing guidelines for white collar crimes

The federal sentencing guidelines apply to felonies and serious misdemeanors, including criminal fraud and other white collar crimes. Judges consider the guidelines in considering such sentencing factors as length of incarceration, appropriateness of probation, fines and restitution to be paid to the victims. Offenses that fall under the category of white collar crime include:

  • Antitrust violations
  • Embezzlement
  • Forgery
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Internet fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Mortgage and bank fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Insider trading and securities fraud
  • Money laundering

Mr. Swerling has defended numerous clients in such cases, and his advocacy often has led to a dismissal of charges or to no charges being proffered. But even when the facts are so adverse as to result in a conviction, Mr. Swerling can often deliver a positive outcome in the sentencing phase of the case.

The federal sentencing guidelines call for longer prison sentences whenever the offense has caused substantial financial harm. Defendants who assist in the investigation can earn leniency in sentencing. Unfortunately, many accused persons are under a misconception about federal prison. There are several dozen minimum-security prisons, but these are hardly the “Club Fed” of legend. Incarceration is a hardship for inmates and life continues to be difficult for them after release. For these reasons, you must retain the most skilled and knowledgeable attorney available when you face sentencing.

Federal sentencing guidelines for drug crimes and violent crimes

The U.S. Sentencing Commission also provides guidelines for drug crimes and for crimes of violence, which are subject to sentencing enhancements. Under federal guidelines, a crime of violence is any felony that has an element of physical force, whether used, attempted or threatened. Examples are assault, kidnapping and homicide. But a crime of violence can also mean any felony that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another,” such as arson, burglary of a dwelling, extortion and illegal use of explosives. Drug offenses under federal law are subject to mandatory minimum penalties. Sentences are further enhanced if the offense involves trafficking, which under federal law can be possession of drugs above a certain amount.

If you are accused of a federal drug crime or a violent crime, you need an experienced federal criminal attorney at your side. Mr. Swerling knows how to protect your rights and to fight for your freedom. Even if the facts of your case lead to a conviction, he will be your determined advocate at sentencing, making effective use of the federal guidelines to argue for leniency.

Contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney in South Carolina

If you are under investigation or have been arrested on a federal charge, Jack B. Swerling, Attorney at Law, in Columbia is ready to fight for your rights. Call the law firm 24 hours a day at 800-701-0599 or contact him online for a prompt response.

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Jack Swerling In The News >>

  • Jack Swerling, Derrick Mobley and Alissa Wilson were successful in having a Judge rule after an extensive hearing, that the defendant was immune from prosecution based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in a murder prosecution. The Judgment was handed down on March 29, 2021.
  • Jack Swerling, Gregory Harris and Alissa Wilson obtained a Not Guilty Verdict in Lexington County on March 3, 2022. An Orthopedic Surgeon was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of a friend.
  • “When Jack is on my docket, I tell my law clerks, ‘You do not want to miss this. You are seeing one of the greatest trial lawyers in the state’s history.'” -South Carolina Circuit Court Judge
  • Jack was selected to Super Lawyers Magazine Top Ten List for 2019. Each year Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in South Carolina via a selection process involving peer evaluations, independent research and professional achievement. The South Carolina lawyers who receive the highest points during this selection process are further recognized in the South Carolina Super Lawyers Top Ten List.
  • USA v. FRANK*: In a child pornography case, Swerling was successful in obtaining a 22 level variance reducing the defendant’s sentence from 8 years to 6 months.
  • STATE v. BORIS: The defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a case where the defendant was involved in a shoot-out with 3 police officers.
  • STATE v. TYGER: Jack Swerling obtains a not guilty verdict in a criminal sexual conduct case in Beaufort County.
  • Pre Trial Dispositions: STATE v. DWAYNE: Mr. Swerling successfully argued for the dismissal of stalking and unlawful use of telephone charges brought against a prominent businessman in Florence County.
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