Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Attorneys
What Are the Penalties for a Federal Conviction?

What Are the Penalties for a Federal Conviction?

If you’ve been charged with a federal crime, you need to know what penalties the prosecutor might be planning to use against you, or how the judge might rule. What makes federal charges harsher than state charges is the use of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines created by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency within the judicial branch. 

Your criminal record will be weighed according to a point system that takes into account your charge, any prior criminal offenses, and other factors. Using this point system, your judge will determine an appropriate sentence within the suggested range in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. 

Then you must take into account mandatory minimum sentences, which are set by Congress and apply only to certain crimes. If your charges trigger a mandatory minimum sentence, your judge will be forced to sentence you to a long period behind bars, without discretion or leniency. 

The Difficulty of Predicting Your Sentence

By weighing your prior criminal record against the offense level of the crime you’re charged with, there is a wide range of potential federal sentences you could be facing. For instance, let’s say you’re accused of a fairly ‘minor’ federal crime, but you have a lengthy record of prior offenses—your judge could sentence you for 10 years or more, whereas someone with no criminal record might get a sentence of less than half that.

However, by the same token, let’s say you’re accused of a serious federal offense, but you have no criminal record. In fact, this is your first run-in with the law. The judge has the discretion to grant you leniency and give you an easy sentence, but they also have the power to put you away for 30 years (or for the rest of your life), depending on the degree of seriousness of your charge.

To give you an idea of how many potential sentence ranges you’re facing, there are 43 levels of federal offenses in the sentencing guidelines, multiplied by 6 different levels of criminal history categories. That’s 258 potential sentence ranges!

Get an Experienced Federal Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale

Getting charged with a federal crime means you’re facing the full power of the federal prosecutor’s office and by extension the Department of Justice. Federal law enforcement tools, vast and well-funded, may have been used (or will be used) to investigate your case and ensure that the charges against you are as strong as possible.

What you need in your corner is a defense attorney with experience in federal court, an attorney who is neither intimidated nor impressed with the full power of the U.S. government brought to bear on your case. Rudenberg and Glasser, P.A. has handled thousands of cases, including federal charges of all levels and types. We’ve been defense attorneys and legal scholars for decades, contributing to our field both with published articles and proven defense strategies. We’ve helped countless people avoid jail time, get their charges reduced, or get their cases dismissed. 

If you want a proven trial advocate for your federal case, we’re the ones to call. Dial (954) 543-1788 for help from our Fort Lauderdale federal defense lawyers.


Our Victories

  • Not Guilty, Acquitted at Trial Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon

    Outcome: Client was alleged to have used his vehicle to strike victim, and there was video of the incident which could have been interpreted to actually show the crime. The state was offering significant prison time before trial. By meticulous planning and strategic cross-examination to expose the motives and fabrications by the alleged victim, and an eyewitness in support of the alleged victim, Rudenberg & Glasser convinced a jury to acquit the client and avoid a mandatory long prison sentence.

  • Domestic Violence
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser went to trial and were able to show during cross-examination that the alleged victim was the aggressor and that the client acted in self-defense. The jury returned a not guilty verdict almost immediately following trial.
  • Domestic Violence With 911 Call and Pictures
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser took the case to trial after fleshing out inconsistencies in the alleged victim's account. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty and the client's unblemished record was preserved.
  • False Arrest

    Outcome: Attorney Glasser was able to show with video footage that his client did not commit the alleged offense and furthermore, the police officer who ordered his arrest was negligent in his investigation and improperly supervised.

    Read more about this story on the Sun Sentinel.

  • Probation Only Federal Conspiracy to Commit Mail & Wire Fraud

    Outcome: Through compelling sentencing memorandum and passionate oral argument, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to convince the federal court judge to sentence their client to treatment for substance abuse, and no incarceration, even though the client had a lengthy criminal history and the Government was seeking prison time.

  • Felony DUI: Client was in an Accident and Left the Scene
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser filed a compelling motion to suppress evidence based on law enforcement's actions during the investigation. Rudenberg & Glasser were able to persuade the prosecutor prior to the motion to suppress hearing that the charge should be broken down from a felony to a misdemeanor and the client was offered probation instead of the previously sought prison sentence.
  • Final Injunction Hearing
    Outcome: Client desperately needed to avoid a final injunction on his record. Rudenberg & Glasser defended him at the hearing and proved that the Petitioner was not in fear for her safety. The judge dismissed the injunction.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: Resisting Police Officer Without Violence
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg presented evidence that the police officer’s version of events was not credible, and that accusations were made to justify excessive use of force by police officer. Jury returned a verdict of not guilty in less than five minutes.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanors: DUI & Possession of Cannabis
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg won a motion arguing the DUI checkpoint was conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and the Judge entered an order suppressing all evidence. Case was dropped by the State, and client avoided a mandatory conviction for DUI, as well as mandatory fines and license suspensions.
  • $250,000 Pre-Trial Personal Injury

    Outcome: Client was injured by a malfunctioning door, requiring stitches and leaving a scar on client's knee. There were limited medical bills and no surgeries, but through extremely challenging and successful negotiations, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to secure a settlement of $250,000.

What Our Clients Are Saying

We go above and beyond to be there for clients to provide them with the best outcome possible.
  • “Proved to be the best legal team there is! They not only helped me avoid jail time, but got my probation terminated the same day!”

    Dallas B.

  • “It's nice to know that you actually cared and it didn't seem like this case was just another folder.”

    John J.

  • “Outstanding”

    Jonathan mujica

  • “In My Eyes, He's the Best”


  • “I Was Able to Have My Name Cleared”

    Domestic Violence Client

  • “They Were There with Me Every Step of the Way”


  • “The amount of respect and empathy Attorney Rudenberg has for his clients can not be described in words.”

    C J

  • “Great results, compassionate service, and extremely professional.”


  • “Their great efforts got us the most unexpected, but amazing outcome for what we were up against.”


  • “Very professional very honest and reliable, cannot thank them enough.”

    D Gonzalez


    A. Ariel

  • “Provided a High Level of Support & Skill”

    DUI Client

  • “If you live a lifetime, you will never meet a more sincere, heartfelt, loving, caring person than Mike Glasser.”


  • “He Went Out of His Way to Go the Extra Mile”


  • “Michael jumped through hoops to give me the defense I deserved and I will always be grateful. Michael and Eric are not just Lawyers, they are friends and will look out for your best interest!”