Avoiding the question that slashes your chance for sentence reduction
There are some things involved in a federal case that you have zero control over. It can make you feel anxious and hopeless, like you no longer have the power to influence your own life. I’ve been there; I know. In reality, you have control over more than you may think. As a federal prison consultant, it’s my role to help my clients leverage every ounce of power they have to increase their chances of getting less time, or even probation. So, what can you do?
If you’re looking at going to federal prison, one of the things you can do to impact what happens in the next several years of your life is to write an amazing letter to the judge. When I say amazing, I mean it has to blow the judge’s mind, but if you do it right, it can literally shave years off your federal prison sentence. Making sure your letter to the judge is on point, and communicates all the right things, is one of the best moves you can make to look out for your future. This isn’t theory guys; I’ve seen it work over and over again.
The Question NOT to Ask the Judge
Maybe you’re the do-it-yourself type, and you think if you spend enough time carefully writing your letter to the judge, you’ll be successful. Unless you’re the one in a million I haven’t met yet, you’d be wrong. My clients submit their letters to me for review, and even the best written letters they’ve sent me contain the same critical mistake. They ask for probation. That huge error usually comes after multiple other wrong turns, like explaining to the judge what a good guy he is and how his family will suffer if he spends time in federal prison. This may seem like the logical angle to take, but trust me when I tell you, this approach will kill your chances of a reduced sentence and you can wave goodbye to probation.
What Should You Do Instead
Your letter to the judge should take total responsibility for your actions. You should be talking about what you’ve done to better yourself and what you will do to continue to better yourself while you’re in federal prison. Let the judge know that if he or she sentences you to federal prison, you intend to use the time to work on the issues that landed you there. Don’t whine. Don’t make excuses and whatever you do, do not ask to be let off easy with probation. I know this may feel like the exact opposite of what you think you should do. In the long run, you’ll do what you want, but I’ve seen this play out too many times and judges respond far better to someone who takes a proactive approach and owns responsibility.
Put the Judge’s Robe On
Just for a minute, imagine being that judge. Think about hearing dozens or hundreds of cases. How many of the defendants do you think talk about being a great guy and how their being sent to prison will harm their children? How many of the defendants do you imagine ask for probation or beg for the court’s mercy? You’d probably get pretty tired of hearing the same excuses and being asked for the same things. Pretty soon, everyone would start to sound the same, and you might not believe any of them. Now, what if someone came before you and admitted their wrongs, took total responsibility, had been out in the community doing something helpful (without being court ordered to do it) and didn’t ask for probation? It would get your attention and you’d think this guy might genuinely mean what he says. You’d be way more likely to give this guy a break than the guy who tells you the same annoying story and begs to you let him off the hook.
The Ball’s in Your Court
Nothing about this process is easy, but if you want to take back control and do what you can to protect yourself, give me a call. The consultation is free and you’ll walk away from the call knowing your options.