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.
Further, as the court explained, the same course of conduct or common scheme or plan provision dictates that, for offenses grouped under § 3D1.2(d), the defendant must be held accountable for all acts and omissions that were part of the same course of conduct, plan, or common scheme as the crime for which they are convicted.
Here, the court found that it was clear that relevant conduct may include uncharged conduct. As such, the court found that the trial court did not err in finding that the uncharged conduct, in this case, constituted the same course of conduct or common scheme or plan as the crimes for which the defendant was convicted and upheld his sentence.
Meet with a Seasoned Clearwater Attorney
While the government must prove a criminal defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the courts are permitted to consider uncharged conduct when sentencing people that have been convicted of drug crimes and other offenses. If you are charged with a drug offense, it is smart to speak to an attorney about your options. The seasoned Clearwater drug crime defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are proficient at helping people protect their reputations and rights, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Hanlon Law through the online form or by calling 727-897-5413 to set up a meeting.