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Why Should I Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer?

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If you have been charged with a federal offense you may be able to get the charge dismissed or reduced. If you are unable to get the charge dismissed or reduced, you may enter into a plea agreement or go to trial. If you enter into a plea agreement or if you are found guilty at a trial, you will be sentenced according to the Sentencing Guidelines. Also, some charges call for a mandatory minimum sentence, which is often more that the Sentencing Guideline. A mandatory minimum sentence means that for some crimes the judge must sentence all defendants to a minimum number of months in prison unless he or she qualifies for something called “safety-valve”. In other words, if you qualify for the safety-valve the judge can sentence you by the Sentencing Guidelines and give you less than the mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Safety-Valve in Federal Criminal Cases

Sentencing in federal court is mostly done by the Sentencing Guidelines. The Guidelines consider things like criminal history, base offense level, offense characteristic, victim injury, role in the offense, obstruction of justice, acceptance of responsibility, and timely notice of intent to plea guilty. A defendant is usually sentenced by the Sentencing Guideline score unless there is a mandatory minimum sentence. If there is a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must impose a mandatory minimum sentence, which is often more than a Guideline sentence.

Congress has passed the “Safety Valve” statute. The safety-valve statute allows judges to impose sentences below the mandatory minimum if the defendant meets certain requirements. In order to qualify for the safety-valve:

  1. no one was injured,
  2. the defendant has little or no criminal history,
  3. the defendant did not use a gun, violence or threats,
  4. the defendant was not an organizer, leader, manager or supervisor of the offense,
  5. the defendant submits to a debriefing and is fully honest during the debriefing.

If a defendant meets the safety-valve requirements, the judge can sentence a defendant below the mandatory minimum sentence. In other words, the judge can sentence you to less than the mandatory minimum number of months in prison.

It is important for an attorney to understand the safety-valve and argue for a sentence below the mandatory minimum sentence. In certain cases, the judge shall impose a sentence within the guidelines without regard to any statutory minimum sentence if the judge finds that the defendant meets the criteria set forth below:

(1) the defendant does not have more than 1 criminal history point;

(2) the defendant did not use violence or credible threats of violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon in connection with the offense;

(3) the offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury to any person;

(4) the defendant was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise; and

(5) the defendant has truthfully provided to the Government all information and evidence the defendant has concerning the offense or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct.

One of the biggest benefits of hiring a qualified lawyer is that you increase your chances of getting the relief you deserve. A skilled and experienced attorney will know the law and be able to get you a safety-valve sentence if you quality.

A good attorney will have the knowledge and experience necessary to resolve your case with the best possible outcome. You will need to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Why? Because experience counts.

If you have been arrested for a federal offense, you may be facing a long mandatory minimum prison sentence. Not every attorney has the qualifications and experience to handle a mandatory minimum sentence case.

If you or a loved one need legal assistance with a federal criminal charge call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813 229-5353.

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez defends individuals charged with a misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses throughout the Tampa Bay area and the State of Florida. With more than 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and hundreds of jury trials, Daniel earned tremendous accolades from judges, other lawyers, defendants, and even jurors. Daniel started his legal career as a state prosecutor and became the chief of the Narcotics division before opening his own law practice in 1985.

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Recent Reviews

Daniel J. Fernandez, Esq.
5.0
Based on 252 reviews
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Amy Brennan
Amy Brennan
19:49 13 Jan 20
Mr. Daniel Fernandez and his staff treated me like a family member from the moment I walked into his office. He and... his staff are knowledgeable, diligent, attentive, and effective. They immediately went to work and didn't stop until they obtained the absolute best results for my case. From the moment Danny became my attorney, I felt at ease and knew that I was being represented by the best there is. I'm eternally grateful for all he and his staff have done for me. He is a true professional and an amazing advocate for your legal needs.read more
Irene Meadows
Irene Meadows
21:56 11 Dec 19
If you need an attorney who is compassionate, knowledgeable and will be there every step of the way for you and your... family during a difficult and challenging time in your life, you have made the right decision with Daniel Fernandez and his staff. Mr. Daniel Fernandez and his staff treat you like a member of their family. My husband and I would highly recommend you contact the law office of Daniel J. Fernandez. You will be glad you did.read more
A Google User
A Google User
14:27 11 Dec 19
Great Experience, attorney Daniel J Fernandez was extremely kind, and explained everything in great detail. The staff... at the office was excellent! Great experience would recommend the attorney to anyone.read more
Luella Nelson
Luella Nelson
23:30 10 Dec 19
Attorney Daniel Fernandez My daughter was facing a few issues that was going to effect her for a very long time. I did... not know which direction to turn or what to do. I googled 5 star attorney's and Mr. Fernandez's name displayed. I called his office and spoke to his paralegal Austin. He was very kind, understanding and gave me peace of mind just by speaking to me. I then met Mr. Fernandez shortly thereafter. This Attorney is very kind, compassionate, understanding and truly cares about his clients. His proven results were simply phenomenal. He basically saved my daughter from going away for a very long time instead she is going to receive some medical treatment and soon released with a short period of supervision. Afterwards Mr. Fernandez sat down with me and explained the out come and also has a plan for her moving forward. I know that each situation is different however this attorney not only has proven results he cares and looks for cures for his clients. If your in need of an attorney for any situation I suggest that you call Attorney Daniel Fernandez. I assure you that you will not be disappointed. -----Original Message-----read more
Joe Blanco
Joe Blanco
01:48 07 Dec 19
Daniel Fernandez is by far the best criminal defense attorney in the Tampa Bay area. I have used Mr. Fernandez for... several years to help my son with several issues he has faced. He compassionate, informative, and reliable. If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer I highly recommend you to hire Mr. Fernandezread more
Anjeanette Blanco
Anjeanette Blanco
22:37 06 Dec 19
Daniel J. Fernandez has been my lawyer for 25 years and he is amazing! He is always available when needed and goes... above beyond. His entire office staff is always friendly and helpful. I highly recommend Mr. Fernandez.read more
Nicole Tarantelli
Nicole Tarantelli
17:36 02 Dec 19
I am so pleased with the experience I had with everyone in their office. The service was excellent! Everyone was kind... and patient. I mostly dealt with Austin. He did everything he said and always returned my calls the same day. I am incredibly grateful for all the hard work!read more
Cheryl Stinson
Cheryl Stinson
14:41 22 Nov 19
Daniel Fernandez represented us in a violation of probation in dade city'. He did a great job. Judge was going to... sentence my friend to one year in jail .Mr. Fernandez argued for 60 days and hot the court down to 70 days .thank you for your help Mr.Fernandezread more
gilbert Lozada
gilbert Lozada
18:23 01 Nov 19
Great work Mr. Daniel J Fernandez he is very knowledgeable as a defense attorney I will Highly recommended his services... to anyone.Thank youread more
stephanie santiago
stephanie santiago
18:13 21 Oct 19
Im so pleased with Daniel Fernandez. He was able to get my husbands case to go better than what we thought it was.... Thank you so muchread more
Jose Rodriguez
Jose Rodriguez
13:39 25 Sep 19
I don't have enough words to describe how amazing the experience with attorney Fernandez was. I could not have asked... for better services. Attorney Fernandez was very professional throughout the legal process which resulted in a positive outcome. Thank you again attorney Fernandez for giving my family and me peace of mind.read more
Genesis Padilla
Genesis Padilla
04:22 12 Sep 19
Mr. Fernandez was absolutely amazing with our family’s case. Very genuine and intelligent. Austin was a pleasure to... work with as well. We had a great experience overall, we were blown away by what he was able to accomplish so quickly.read more
Alex Gomez
Alex Gomez
15:13 14 Aug 19
I'm very satisfied with the services provided from Mr. Daniel J Fernandez. I was in a bad situation and contacted his... firm. They were very professional and informative. They're very knowledgeable in the law and great at what they do. I would recommend them to everyone I know without hesitation. Mr. Fernandez and his firm are the real deal. Once again thank you.read more
D Serano
D Serano
01:21 18 Jul 19
Daniel Fernandez is an amazing lawyer! I have used a few times for a family member and I highly recommend! He knows... his stuff, hes aggressive, a fighter, not afraid to try any case that comes his way!! He is honest and let’s you know what to expect from the moment you hire and until the case in closed!read more
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