Armed Career Criminal Act in Federal Criminal Law – Federal criminal law is very serious and has very serious consequences for the accused person. One of the main causes of concern for anyone charged with a federal crime as opposed to a state crime is the harshness of the sentencing if convicted. This is not only because the federal sentencing guidelines provide harsh punishments, mandatory minimums, and status classes, but also because there are additional laws that make the punishment of crimes more severe.

One such law is the Armed Career Criminal Act. In this blog, we will discuss this Act, and the consequences that a defendant may face if it applies. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only, and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a federal criminal defense attorney.

What Is the Armed Career Criminal Act?

The Armed Career Criminal Act is a federal law that provides sentencing enhancements to defendants who are convicted of committing crimes with firearms, when certain situations apply. Whether the law applies depends on the defendant’s criminal record. If he or she has three or more prior convictions of certain violent felonies he will likely face the consequences of this Act.

What does the Act consider to be a violent felony?

What constitutes a violent felony is specifically defined in federal criminal law. For these purposes a violent felony is a crime punishable by more than one year in prison and includes force or the threat of force against another, is a burglary, arson, or extortion, involves the use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of serious injury to another.

Keep in mind this considers prior convictions of both state and federal crimes in any jurisdiction in the United States over certain periods of time.

Consequences of the Armed Career Criminal Act

The effect of the Act is to impose a mandatory minimum prison term of at least fifteen years. The defendant in a case like this can receive much more time depending on the circumstances of the case and the charges at issue.

Federal sentencing is just one of the many complicated aspects of federal criminal law.  If you have been charged with a federal crime in South Carolina or North Carolina and need a federal criminal defense attorney, contact us.

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