What is Self-Surrender?

Sometimes it’s just not possible to get an acquittal in a federal case, even if you have a very skilled federal criminal lawyer. You have to remember that 92% of the people who get targeted for a criminal investigation tend to either plead guilty or be found guilty in court.

In part this is because the feds have a great many resources to throw at any given criminal case. They can take a long time to gather their evidence. If the case is going to court at all they’re generally well-prepared. 

Given these facts your federal criminal attorney might well suggest that you enter a plea bargain. This may help you reduce your crime down to something less severe on paper, which can carve a great deal of time off your sentence by changing which federal sentencing guidelines your case is going to be evaluated under. When your attorney doesn’t think you have a strong enough case to win at trial and when you have very little to offer to bargain for immunity this may be the right way to go. 

When you do, what happens next is that you are given a sentencing date. Usually this will be 30 to 60 days after you plead guilty. Often you will be taken into custody at that sentencing hearing, but there are times when your attorney may be able to negotiate a self-surrender date where you will turn yourself in to the Bureau of Prisons rather than being taken straight out of court on your sentencing day.

This can work to your advantage. Once the Judge sentences you the Bureau of Prisons takes over. The judge makes a recommendation but the Bureau of Prisons gets the eventual decision.  This is the organization that evaluates your security risk. What you want is for them to see you as a low security risk. If you show up on time and surrender then this helps your case. 

Being seen as a low security risk can mean being sent to a lower security prison. While it will still be a federal prison, there are definitely better and worse places to be sent

Sometimes, in a federal criminal case, all you can do is make the best of a bad situation.

Want to make your situation better? If you know you’re in trouble with the feds, get an experienced federal criminal attorney involved as early in the process as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute. By involving an attorney you may deprive the feds of evidence they need to convict you in the first place, which means you might never need worry about a self-surrender date. 

See also:

Should You Testify On Your Own Behalf in a Criminal Case?

Post-Conviction Options in a Federal Case

Types of Immunity in a Federal Criminal Case

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