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How do feds determine if your are a career criminal.

Decatur, GA |

From what I've read they can go back ten years if you were not sentenced to jail time and 15 if the crime did include jail time. I've had 3 nonviolent marijuana charges since 1977.The last one was in 1999 for 1000kg of marijuana for which I got Federal jail time. The other charges were state charges that resulted in probation.1977 I had a 30 lb marijuana charge and in 1986 I had a 6 lb marijuana charge..no guns involved. No weapons involved in any of these charges. If a guy I know who just got popped for 18 lbs of marijuana snitches and brings me into the conspiracy will I be facing a career criminal enhancement ?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

I strongly suggest that you hire an experienced federal criminal litigator. They would be in the best position to tell you re: the recidivist issue. Talking about this case any more on here could potentially jeopardize any possible defense you may have for that alleged offense of your "friend," and only by speaking confidentially with an attorney could you best discuss the facts of the case, not only the sentencing issue. Good luck.

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Posted

A federal defendant is considered a Career Offender, pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG Section 4B1.1), if he or she (1) is 18 years of age at the time the instant offense was committed; (2) the instant offense is a crime or violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions for a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. However, the term "controlled substance offense" is defined in USSG Section 4B1.2 as one that prohibits the manufacture, import, export, distribution or dispensing of a controlled substance. There is no time limit on the age of the convictions that may be counted under the Career Offender provision; the time limitations that you reference pertain to the criminal history score in USSG Section 4A1.1 (which is the subject or another very long answer).

Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.
NATIONAL FEDERAL DEFENSE GROUP
jlowther@nationalfederaldefense.com
http://www.NationalFederalDefense.com
866.380.1782

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Christopher Alan Keese

Christopher Alan Keese

Posted

There are time limitations for purposes of the career offender guideline. According to application note 3 of section 4B1.2 (which provides definitions for the career offender guideline), the provisions of 4A1.2 are applicable to the counting of convictions under 4B1.1 (career offender guideline). The applicable time period for counting prior felony convictions is set out in section 4A1.2(e) of the Guideline which provides in pertinent part: (1) Any prior sentence of imprisonment exceeding one year and one month that was imposed within fifteen years of the defendant’s commencement of the instant offense is counted. Also count any prior sentence of imprisonment exceeding one year and one month, whenever imposed, that resulted in the defendant being incarcerated during any part of such fifteen-year period. (2) Any other prior sentence that was imposed within ten years of the defendant’s commencement of the instant offense is counted. (3) Any prior sentence not within the time periods specified above is not counted. Therefore, to count a prior felony conviction, the sentence received must meet the requirements set out in section 4A1.2(e)(1) or (2).

Christopher Alan Keese

Christopher Alan Keese

Posted

See United States v. Dewey, 599 F.3d 1010, 1014-1015 (9th Cir. 2010), United States v. Romary, 246 F.3d 339, 342 (4th Cir. 2001)

Posted

The answer to your question is rather complicated. More information is needed. It sounds like each of your prior marijuana cases could be career offender predicates as drug offenses.
You are right that there are time limits. The provisions of §4A1.1(a), (b), or (c) govern whether or not your priors are counted. Even if you were not imprisoned initially, if you were revoked from supervision, at some point, your 1986 sentence could count as a predicate, if the sentence brings that case within the time limit.
The good news is that the career offender guideline, like all of the federal sentencing guidelines, is now advisory. The bad news is that the guidelines are advisory. So even if you are a career offender, the judge could give you a break and a sentence lower than the career guideline. On the other hand, even if you are not a career offender under the guidelines, a judge could decide that someone with a prior federal sentence and two other prior drug cases is in fact someone who made a living selling drugs as a career. The judge might decide that you deserve a higher than guideline sentence. It depends on the judge and all the other circumstances in the case.
You need an experienced federal defense lawyer.

My answer to your question is based on the facts that you provide in your question. Additional factual details about your situation could change my answer completely. The law in inherently uncertain and always subject to change.

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Posted

You and your attorney need to sit down, carefully review your criminal history and compare it to the federal sentencing guideline manual. You also may have other concerns, including sentencing enhancement notice which could subject you to a life sentence.

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Mark P. Maciolek

Mark P. Maciolek

Posted

That is a good point. If you have a mandatory minimum of 5 years, max of 40 years on your present case, it could be increased to 10 - life based on your prior convictions. We call these statutory enhancements 851s after 21 U.S.C. 851, which prescribes the notice requirements. If your current charge already carries a 10 yr min and a life max, the prosecution may be able to file two 851 enhancers. The first would increase your minimum to 20 years. The second would make your case mandatory life. There is no age limit for these sort of enhancements, and they are mandatory, not advisory like the guidelines.

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