What is 3553(a) in a Raleigh, North Carolina federal criminal case?

18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)

Years ago, judges were legally required to sentence criminal defendants to a sentence within the guideline range of imprisonment.  Cases such as Booker, Apprendi, Hughes and others changed that.  Now a sentencing judge can consider information outside of the United States Sentencing Guidelines in determining an appropriate sentence.  The judge can consider the nature and circumstances of the offense, your personal history, the need to protect the public from you, the need to provide you with vocational or rehabilitative services and other factors.  This change in the law provides your lawyer with a great opportunity to show the sentencing judge positive information about you that is not included in the Pre-Sentence Report.  Your lawyer can include this information in a Sentencing Memorandum that he or she can prepare and present to the judge in advance of the sentencing hearing.

R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.