White collar criminal cases can be very complicated. Additionally, repercussions if convicted of such a charge could bring disastrous long-term effects. Below, a Fairfax white collar lawyer discusses how penalties are determined in these types of cases and how one goes about creating a defense against these charges.
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Each statute that somebody has been charged under has a minimum and maximum penalty. It is a parameter by which a judge knows what his legal authority is to sentence somebody. Then, of course, there is also the discretionary sentencing guidelines that the judges will use to guide them in imposing a sentence. However, they are not bound by those guidelines.
A defense attorneys job, just like in other cases, is to advocate for their client and explain and document how my client is different than other individuals who have been in a similar situation. For instance, that they have no criminal history, that they’re taking responsibility for the offense possibly, or that there was a sympathetic or mitigating reason for their actions assuming that they’re guilty of the crime. It is not an excuse but an explanation for it.
Also, to demonstrate specific things that the clients have done in order to rehabilitate themselves whatever the underlying issue was for the crime. It could be maybe a drug problem or maybe a loss of employment. If we could try to figure out what the reason for the offense was and try to take steps to cure it prior to the court date, that would be extremely helpful in mitigating the sentence imposed by the presiding judge.
The first thing is to try to figure out all of the evidence that we can and figure out what information the government has that can be used against my client to convict him. There has to be a good analysis of what that is and what the chances are that they can actually get a conviction in court. Once we figure that out then we usually do our own investigation to figure out if there are other things that we can uncover to shed some doubt on the government’s case.
An attorney will need to plan from the start and plan for this case to go to trial and looking forward to what type of evidence can we produce to shed doubt on the strength of the government’s case. Attorneys do that through private investigators, subpoena power, interviewing witnesses, and any other method they can think of to assist in the defense.
Attacking the government’s ability to prove the identity of the perpetrator is always a strong or common defense depending on what the evidence is. As well as the intent, was there a criminal intent at the time of the fraud or the forgery? So those are pretty simple, but important defenses that we see in white collar cases.
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