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If you're charged with a federal drug or gun crime and have priors, what do you need to know? We ask Pittsburgh lawyer Frank Walker for this AskTheLawyers™ Quick Question.
There's a rule called “the career offender rule”. Let's say in federal court you have two prior drug felonies within the past 15 years, after that third one in federal court, you're now classified as a career offender. For example, let's say your suggested range is eight years or so many months in federal court, but now that you're a career offender that hops up it could hop up to 20 or even 30 years to life in federal court if you are classified as a career offender. The penalties are so much harsher.
Now, as an armed career criminal—let's say you have three or more violent offenses—if you have three or more violent offenses in federal court, you could be classified as an armed career criminal, which again, gives you a minimum of 15 to life, and you have different penalties running all the way up through the gamut. So it doesn't make sense for you to go there without representation, thinking you could understand what's going on, when you're playing in a totally different ball field.
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