Federal Sentencing

Federal Sentencing Attorney

Los Angeles California

Michael Devereux is an experienced lawyer in Los Angeles who has handled hundreds of federal sentencing hearings in his +15 years of practicing federal criminal defense. Sometimes Michael has represented the client for many years leading up to the sentencing hearing. On other occasions, clients asked Michael to come in at the final stage of a case to see if his involvement can result in a “better” sentence. No matter which method resulted in Michael’s involvement, a federal sentencing hearing is incredibly more complex than the same process in state court criminal cases. Some very accomplished and experienced state-court criminal defense lawyers simply are not properly equipped with the relevant information to do a good job in a federal sentencing proceedings. Clients should consider consulting with an attorney who handles federal sentencing proceedings as a regular part of his or her practice.

Federal Sentencing Basics

At sentencing, federal judges must impose a minimum term of imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to life.

The Sentencing Guidelines set out a Sentencing Table with 43 Offense Levels starting at zero months to life imprisonment.

There are six criminal history categories. Each category is associated with a range of criminal history points.

Federal Sentencing Attorney

Michael Devereux is a highly respected federal sentencing attorney in Los Angeles with a career start with a law firm that was assigned to federal drug trafficking cases. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of federal sentencing makes Mr. Devereux an elite federal sentencing attorney. Mr. Devereux started his own firm in 2004 after working for the Cochran Firm, and assisting with the Robert Blake and Michael Jackson defense teams under Thomas Mesereau. As the principal owner of Wexford Law, Mr. Devereux has been successfully representing clients for close to 20 years in respect federal sentences. Former clients, their family and friends repeatedly return to Wexford Law for help in matters involving matters involving drug charges.


Federal Sentencing Guidelines are a set of sentencing recommendations for federal offenses that is published by the United States Sentencing Commission, an independent, bi-partisan agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. Importantly, the Sentencing Guidelines are not mandatory, meaning that federal judges have the discretion to abide by them or not. However, the Sentencing Guidelines are very persuasive to judges, and many federal judges reference and closely follow the Guidelines when sentencing a defendant.

The Sentencing Guidelines set out a Sentencing Table with 43 Offense Levels, which generally overlap with the ranges above and below each other. Federal offenses are assigned a Base Offense Level, and then the Guidelines lay out offense specific characteristics that may increase the Offense Level, such as how the crime occurred or the scope of the crime. Once the Offense Level is determined, the defendant is placed in one of 6 Criminal History Categories determined by the defendant’s personal criminal history. The Sentencing Table provides the sentencing range based on the appropriate Offense Level and the defendant’s Criminal History Category.

It is important to also know the process that leads to a successful sentencing hearing. First, the Defendant will be interviewed by a United States Probation Officer who will complete a presentence investigation (PSI) which includes interviews of the Defendant's family, along with the victim's and prosecution team. Then the United States Probation Officer will write up the “presentence report”, sometimes called the ”PSR.” That report is the base line for the sentencing process.

The attorney has the opportunity to “object” if he or she feels that the Probation Officer made a mistake in the facts or how the Sentencing Guidelines might apply to the case. Michael makes it a practice to maintain good relationships with the Probation Office and has had good results in getting some of the Officers to change their initial Guidelines recommendations. Even after the PSR is finalized and sent to the Judge about a week before the sentencing hearing, an accomplished federal sentencing lawyer has two more opportunities to make an impact. First, Michael files a “Sentencing Memorandum” in almost every case. The PSR will contain biographical background about the Defendant, but it is usually dry, objective and written from the point of view of a government official. Michael Devereux likes to file his own document, to give more “flavor” to the client’s life and what led him or her to the situation of being sentenced for a federal crime. Next, the sentencing hearing itself is another place where the truly talented federal sentencing lawyer can make a difference. Michael can call witnesses, present documents, ask the Defendant to speak, and make his own arguments tailored to this specific Judge for this specific case.

Wexford Law, The Law Firm For Federal Sentencing Defense

Not every attorney takes the same approach to sentencing. Some view sentencing almost as an afterthought–as a routine task not deserving of any more effort than a request for a continuance. That is not our approach. We view sentencing as one of the most important parts of a client’s legal representation. We believe this is especially the case when, statistically speaking, an overwhelming majority of defendants facing federal criminal charges will be convicted of at least some of the crimes they are charged with.

We begin preparing for sentencing early in the process, often months before the client is scheduled to be sentenced. We spend significant time interviewing the client, as well as any witnesses who may be able to provide mitigation testimony for the client at sentencing. We instruct the client on how to gather character letters to submit to the judge at sentencing. We diligently research the law and consider all possible arguments for a low or probationary sentence.

In our sentencing practice, we also consider the possibility of retaining expert witnesses, if such testimony may be potentially applicable in a given case. For example, in a white collar case, an expert may be helpful to establish that a client’s conduct did not cause significant financial loss to the victim(s). For another example, if a client suffers from mental health issues, an expert may be able to testify about these issues to explain or mitigate the conduct.

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Why Choose Us

  • Rich Experience

    Michael Devereux has more than 15 years in defending drug cases in state and federal courts.

  • Our Beliefs

    Experience gets the job done. Wex Law attorneys have more than 20 years of legal practice.

  • Great Results

    Results are only successful when we make a difference in your life. We’ll help you make that difference.