White collar crimes seem to be all over the news these days. Many people don’t realize just how tough some of these cases are. One of the specific challenges that the court faces is deciding a sentence when a person is convicted. While people might scream for harsh sentences for murder and violent crimes, this often isn’t the case for a white collar conviction.
The judges who hear these cases have to be careful to balance the seriousness of the charge with the penalties. Federal judges have a wide berth to choose sentences they feel are best for the case. Even when they do hand down what they feel is just, there is a chance that it will be appealed.
One area that has an impact on a white collar conviction is that the victims who lost money due to the actions of the person who was convicted might be due restitution. Repaying these victims is almost impossible when the person is locked in prison. For this reason, some judges tread on the side of community corrections or probation that allows the person to continue earning an income that they can use for paying restitution.
The United States Sentencing Commission notes that white collar criminals have a lower recidivism rate than others. Since this makes them less of a risk to the community, they might receive sentences that are on the lighter end of the spectrum than defendants in other cases.
Throughout your defense strategy planning, you have to think about how various points might impact sentencing if you are convicted. Even during the sentencing hearing, the defense will have the option to make a statement regarding the possible sentence.