Federal Criminal Sexual Conduct


Punishments for Federal Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges

Facing an allegation of Federal Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, molestation of a child, or possession of distribution of child pornography.  If you are being charged by Uncle Sam for Federal Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, you should be very scared. The penalties for these kinds of crimes are harsh and carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.

What is a mandatory minimum sentence?

Congress or legislatures in the states can set a minimum time of incarceration for criminal behavior that a judge must hand out at sentencing.  In many other types of crimes, judges have the discretion to sentence a convicted individual to whatever amount of time in jail or prison they feel is appropriate.

In Michigan, a conviction of criminal sexual conduct that is in the first degree carries a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison when the victim is under 13 years old. So a judge, in this case, can not impose less than 25 years in prison to the defendant.

The same thing happens in the federal system.  A federal charge of sexual exploitation of a child carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Can the sentence be more than the minimum? 

Unfortunately, the judge can give more time than the mandatory minimum but not less time. The reality of the situation is that in federal cases the sentencing guidelines can go over the mandatory minimum time required by federal law.

At the state level, this doesn’t happen very often.  Many times, the guidelines used in Michigan will recommend a sentence that is lower than the mandatory minimum sentence. However, under Michigan law, that judge doesn’t have to blindly follow the sentencing guidelines.

Are you facing a crime that carries a mandatory minimum?

You need to hire lawyers that are experienced in handling these kinds of cases. You need lawyers who will fight for you, who know the prosecutors, who know the judges, and who care about their clients. You need to hire lawyers who can get you great results if you are being charged with sexual assault.

Under federal law, if you are arrested for receiving child pornography, you are facing a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. If you are facing a charge for producing child pornography, the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years in prison.


Yes, a United States Attorney can release the mandatory minimums. The US Attorney can do this if there is substantial assistance provided to the government.  Basically this means you need to rat out someone to receive a reduction in the sentence. Make no mistake about it, the person you rat out needs to be someone who is engaged in some serious criminal activity.

The safety valve doesn’t apply to pornography cases. it applies to certain drug cases. In these cases, the court is allowed to go below the minimum mandatory sentence if the offender is a first time offender and guns weren’t included.


A federal judge is required by law to correctly calculate and consider the incarceration ranges given by the sentencing guidelines.  A sentence is reasonable when the federal court correctly interprets the sentencing guidelines. United States v. Brown, 579 F.3d 672(6th Cir. 2009). If the court makes a mistake on the sentencing guidelines, a convicted person would be given a new sentencing hearing which would be held under the proper sentencing guidelines.


The most important part of the federal sentencing judgment is the factors it assess. Some of these factors are:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the offender;
  • The sentence imposed must reflect the seriousness of the offense;
  • The sentence imposed must promote respect for the law;
  • The need for the sentence imposed to provide punishment that is just for the offense;
  • To deter criminal conduct;
  • To protect the public from being victimized by the convicted offender again.

We know what judges want to hear from you if you are facing any of these serious federal charges. We know how to get results! We will work hard to explain how you ended up in this situation, and what steps that need to be taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We can get psychologists and other professionals to give the court opinions regarding future risk.  We will get letters of support from friends, family, workers, ministers etc.  We will provide the judge with a complete picture of you before you get sentenced.