Factors considered when determining sentencing in White collar crimes

white collar crime

The following article is by attorney Stephen Cobb

Factors considered when determining sentencing in White collar crimes

Most white collar defendants have no prior experience with the criminal justice system and the fear of potential penalties and the uncertainty of their future haunt them most of the time. Depending upon the nature of the white collar crime, criminal penalties or civil lawsuits can be brought either by the government or by the victims of the offense. Civil liabilities may be imposed as a consequence of the suits in addition to the criminal case.

Criminal Penalties

The penalties for white collar crimes vary depending upon the severity of the crime. Some of the laws impose a monetary fine and some impose a jail sentence or sometimes a combination of two. Criminal laws permit penalties that are quite severe, but maximum sentence is rarely received by defendants.

There are defined guidelines that the courts are supposed to follow. These guidelines depend upon the jurisdiction. They are meant to ensure a uniform system of criminal sentences. Because of these guidelines, the sentencing judges do not have a lot of choices to impose a sentence. The guidelines consider the previous criminal record of the defendant and the crime which the defendant is accused of.

Then there are cases when the court may consider different factors that will let it to proceed or impose a sentence different from that required by the guidelines. Those who do not have any prior criminal record are sometimes sentenced to probation, a suspended jail sentence or a sentence that is shorter than the maximum sentence. Fines can be imposed as well and the defendant may be required to compensate any losses or pay restitution.

The “Easy Time” Myth

There is a false belief that offenders accused of white collar crimes receive an easy time in jail that is comfortable with minimum-security institutions. Although many sentences of white collar crimes are served in minimum-security prison, it isn’t necessary that all of the defendants will receive a minimum-security prison. The correlational authorities decide where a person convicted of a white-collar crime should serve his sentence. There isn’t a certainty that defendants of white collar crimes are given minimum-security prison but efforts are made to place prisoners in appropriate facilities.

Civil Liability

A civil case may arise out of a white collar criminal prosecution. It can be brought by the government or by the victims of the crime or by both.

Disgorgement, returning the government any profits obtained by the crime, forfeiting the victims of the offense or any other harm that is provided by the law, can be the result of a civil action. Sometimes, the government seizes any property purchased with the money acquired by the crime. Victims of white collar crimes are given the choice to bring civil actions of their own. The financial losses suffered because of the crime can be recovered through civil actions.

Employment and Social Consequences

A person convicted of a white collar crime may find it difficult to get employment. Defendants of white collar crimes also face social stigma and they may be considered deceitful and dishonest. Therefore, people show reluctance to hire an individual who is convicted of a white collar crime. A person convicted of a white collar crime may be denied a professional license or they may lose their license if they already have one.

If a non US citizen gets convicted of a white collar crime, he or she may be removed from the States or can face other immigration issues. Other than removal, someone convicted of a white collar crime may also be adversely affected in his ability to become a permanent US citizen.

Author Bio:

Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Cobb provides personalized representation for criminal defense cases in FL. Call for FREE Initial Consultation (850) 466-1522

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