FAQ Federal Court

  1. Question: What is pretrial services?
  2. Question: How will we find out what evidence the government has against me?
  3. Question: What are the pretrial hearings I must attend?
  4. Question: If I am convicted, how will I be sentenced?
  1. Question: What is pretrial services?
    Answer: The officer who is monitoring your compliance with the conditions of your bond works for pretrial services.

    The pretrial services worker can and likely will ask you to take a drug test and will monitor to be certain that you are living up to your bond obligations.  If you are not, pretrial services has the authority and obligation to bring you back before a judge to consider revoking your bond.
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  2. Question: How will we find out what evidence the government has against me?
    Answer: In the Federal system there are rules concerning discovery.  In most cases we will be provided a copy of any documentary evidence the government has against you and a list of the witnesses they would anticipate would testify against you.  That list of witnesses very often changes the closer we get to court but the government has a continuing obligation to provide discovery.
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  3. Question: What are the pretrial hearings I must attend?
    Answer: These hearings are held by the Court to be certain that the attorneys are cooperating in discovery, that you are cooperating with your bond and to schedule the matter for court.  It is likely that you will have to attend at least one pretrial hearing before any decision would need to be made as to whether to plead guilty or proceed to trial.
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  4. Question: If I am convicted, how will I be sentenced?
    Answer: The biggest difference between State and Federal Court is that in Federal Court there is a presentence report prepared for the judge.  We will have an opportunity to review that presentence report and submit any objections that we have to it.

    The presentence report will set a sentencing range according to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Although the guidelines are not mandatory, the judge will consider them in your case.  Those guidelines will allow us to determine what the likely range of sentence is going to be.

    We have the opportunity to argue for a sentence outside the range and. as the guidelines are advisory and not mandatory, the Court can sentence in any way it believes appropriate.
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