After sentencing, your options are not limited to an appeal of your case. In some situations, a sentence may be modified in either state or federal court, depending on the specific facts of your case. Sentence modifications require both timeliness and a compelling reason for a modification. While a court may be reluctant to change its sentencing order, there are cases in which a sentence modification is appropriate and may be granted.
Sentence modifications are different from appeals. A sentence modification starts with a request to the court where sentencing occurred. If you are seeking a sentence modification from a state-level court order, for example, you may make a motion for the trial court to reduce your sentence. For federal sentence modifications, you may move the district court to release from or reduce your federal prison sentence.
The laws governing sentence modifications vary depending on whether the trial was at the state or federal level.
If you are seeking to modify a sentencing order handed down after a trial in a Georgia court, then you may move the trial court to reduce your sentence within one year of sentencing or 120 days after the judgment on your appeal - whichever is later.
How the case was initially resolved will impact this timeline. For example, if you entered a plea after negotiations with the prosecution, then you must move for a sentence modification within one year from the date of sentencing.
If you were convicted at trial, however, then the sentencing order will be finalized 30 days after the trial’s completion. A motion to modify the sentencing order would need to be made within a year of sentencing being filed.
In the event of an appeal, the time in which you are required to file a motion for a sentence modification would begin on the date that your case was sent back from the appeals court to the trial court. In this case, you would have either one year from the sentence or 120 days from the date that the record was returned to the trial court, whichever is later.
If you have been convicted of a federal crime and sentenced to time in prison, you may move for the district court to release from or reduce your sentence if there are extraordinary and compelling reasons to do so and if the Federal Bureau of Prisons fails to make such a motion on your behalf.
A district court has discretion to impose a sentence that is in variance of federal sentencing guidelines. Once a sentence is imposed by the court, a judge can change the sentence when there has been an adjustment to these sentencing guidelines and the adjustment is applied retroactively to a case.
There are other federal statutes that permit a person convicted of a federal crime to seek a reduced sentence. Of course, eligibility for a reduced sentence depends entirely on the specific facts of an individual’s crime, their criminal history, and their behavior while in jail.
Whether you received sentencing at the state or federal level, The Bullard Firm is here to help you challenge your conviction. We have worked with clients just like you who are seeking to modify their criminal sentences and pursue a more just outcome for their case. Founding attorney Brandon Bullard has dedicated his career to challenging trial outcomes for clients throughout Georgia, and he will do the same for you.
Contact our office today and schedule a consultation to learn more about your rights to sentence modification and discuss your case with an attorney.