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Departure Considerations in DC Federal Embezzlement Cases

If you were charged with embezzlement, the potential penalties can be severe. However, depending on your alleged level of involvement, the specific penalties you face may be elevated or decreased.

Instead of trying to navigate this process alone, consider contacting a knowledgeable lawyer to discuss departure considerations in DC federal embezzlement cases. A dedicated attorney could explain the nuances of these rules and how they might impact your circumstances.

The Difference Between Upward and Downward Departure

A downward departure is a legal term that refers to moving below the applicable sentencing guideline range for a criminal charge. Likewise, an upward departure is an escalation of penalties within the sentencing guidelines. For cases regarding federal embezzlement, these departures are very specific. Essentially, in most embezzlement cases, the guideline range can move up or down depending on a person’s specific role during the act of embezzling.

For example, if someone was a leader or an organizer during the crime, there could be an upward departure in the offense level. Similarly, a high number of victims may also result in an upward movement, as well as if sophisticated means were used in the commission of the crime.

If a person played a minor role, on the other hand, there may be a downward departure. One of the biggest ways a downward departure occurs, however, is when a defendant provides substantial assistance in cooperating with the government under Section 5K of the sentencing guidelines. This departure specifically might even allow movement below a mandatory minimum sentence.

How Departure is Calculated in DC Federal Cases

Two methods are used to determine a guideline range: the offense level and the defendant’s criminal history. A table in the United States Sentencing Guidelines displays this range in terms of months of imprisonment. Essentially, there are six categories of criminal history, with level one being the least serious category, and level six being the most serious.

So, the guideline range is determined by locating the intersection of the specific criminal offense level and the criminal history category. Furthermore, the range of months differs depending on the specifics of the criminal history. This means that the more criminal history a person has at a specific offense level, the higher the range of months will be. Under the advisory guideline range, then, the judge could either go up or down depending on an analysis of the factors listed under 18 U.S. Code § 3553a.

What Defines A Mitigating Circumstance?

A mitigating circumstance is a condition that may influence a prosecutor to reduce charges or which might result in a judge lowering a sentence. Mitigating circumstances do not justify or excuse the criminal offense but instead provide an explanation of a person’s behavior. When someone receives a downward departure, this sets the advisory sentencing guideline range at a significantly lower level, effectively reducing the potential sentence.

Because the sentencing judge makes a decision as to what the appropriate downward departure should be — if any — a steadfast defense attorney could work to bring information to the judge’s attention in order to argue for downward movement from the assigned offense level. For example, this might be information demonstrating that the individual provided significant assistance to the government.

How an Attorney Might Help with Departure Considerations in DC Federal Embezzlement Cases

If you are facing charges for embezzlement, it may prove beneficial to seek legal counsel about departure considerations in DC federal embezzlement cases. When preparing for federal sentencing, a proactive attorney could develop a comprehensive sentencing memorandum that includes the guidelines calculation and arguments for a downward departure.

This memorandum might also include letters of support from family, friends, colleagues, and federal employees to provide the court with a full picture of the person being sentenced. An experienced lawyer has the education and knowledge of the legal system to work tirelessly in your defense. For more information about the potential for the scale of offenses and how it might affect your case, call today.

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