When it comes to sentencing people for crimes, federal courts can consider a range of factors, including uncharged conduct. Uncharged conduct refers to any criminal activity that the defendant may have engaged in but for which they have not been formally charged or convicted. In a recent ruling, a federal court sitting in Florida explained when and how the courts may evaluate uncharged conduct when assessing an appropriate penalty in a case in which the defendant appealed his sentence for drug crime convictions. If you are charged with a drug offense, it is smart to meet with a Clearwater drug crime defense attorney to assess your options for protecting your interests.
The Defendant’s Sentence
Allegedly, the defendant was charged with numerous drug trafficking and weapons crimes. He was convicted and sentenced to 210 months in prison. He appealed, arguing first that the court erred in assigning narcotics seized during an investigation to him as relevant conduct for his two counts of conviction for possession with intent to distribute and second, by attributing the drugs to him because they were not part of the same common scheme or plan or course of conduct as the offense of conviction.
The Implications of Uncharged Conduct in Federal Criminal Matters
Upon review, the court affirmed the defendant’s sentence. In doing so, it explained that a federal court might consider uncharged conduct in determining an appropriate sentence. This includes all acts and omissions the defendant committed during the commission of the crime, when preparing for the crime, or in the course of trying to avoid detection for the crime. In this case, the court found that the evidence was sufficient to attribute drugs found during the criminal investigation to the defendant for the purpose of sentencing under the relevant-conduct guideline.