It is important to understand whether you will be detained after a guilty plea in federal court. In some situations, you may be detained after the plea pending sentencing. Yet, in some other situations, you can be released. While you may not necessarily be detained after a guilty plea in federal court, it is important to understand the Federal Bail Act to determine how likely detention may be.
The Release or Detention pending sentence is governed by 18 U.S.C. Section 3143. The statute provides that generally, a person awaiting sentence must be detained, unless there is a narrow exception
Presumption for Detention After a Guilty Plea
18 U.S.C. Section 3143 provides that a person who is found guilty at trial or who pleads guilty to an offense should be detained, unless there is an exception. There are two exceptions to the detention after a guilty plea or a conviction:
- The U.S. sentencing guidelines provide for a non-incarceratory sentence, OR
- The judicial officer determines by clear and convincing evidence that a person is (1) not likely to flee and (2) does not pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community in general.
Special Rules for Detention for Crimes of Violence, Crimes Punishable by Life Imprisonment, Drug Crimes
Certain categories of crimes have different rules for detention after a guilty plea. Specifically, if you plead guilty to:
- A Crime of Violence (as defined in 18 U,S.C. Section 16),
- Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force (18 U.S.C. Section 1591) ,
- Acts of Terrorism Transcending National Boundaries (18 U.S.C. Section 2332b(g)(5)(b)) for which a maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or more,
- A controlled substance offense for which a maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or more as prescribed in the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act.
a judicial officer will order you to be detained pending sentencing unless either:
- The judicial officer finds that there is a substantial likelihood that a new trial will be granted (inapplicable in guilty plea cases), OR
- An attorney for the Government has recommended that no sentence of imprisonment be imposed, OR
- There are exceptional reasons to allow an individual to stay out pending sentencing, AND
The judicial officer determines by clear and convincing evidence that the person is (1) not likely to flee OR (2) pose a danger to any other person or the community.
What Are Exceptional Reasons?
The statute itself does not define the term “exceptional reasons” that must be present to avoid being detained after a guilty plea.
The Second Circuit has described “exceptional reasons” permitting the release of a defendant subject to mandatory detention as those that “present a unique combination of circumstances giving rise to situations that are out of the ordinary.” United States v. DiSomma, 951 F.2d 494, 497 (2d Cir. 1991). The Court’s determination requires a case-by-case evaluation by the district judge, whose discretion is “constrained only by the language of the statute: ‘exceptional reasons.’” Id.
The following have not been considered exceptional reasons:
- Cooperating with the Government, AND
- Family hardship as a result of incarceration, AND
- Being in full compliance with pre-trial release.
The following have been considered exceptional reasons:
- Severe medical conditions, AND
- Susceptibility to COVID-19 due to pre-existing medical conditions.
Contact Top Rated New York Criminal Defense Attorneys With Questions on Whether You Will Be Detained After a Guilty Plea
If you or your loved one have questions on whether you will be detained after a guilty plea in federal court, please contact us to schedule your initial consultation. We have counseled numerous clients on the probabilities of getting detained after a guilty plea in federal court and we look forward to speaking with you regarding your case