The United States Sentencing Guidelines are used to determine sentences in DC federal embezzlement cases. The guidelines are promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission, which is authorized by Congress to do so.
If you face embezzlement charges, you deserve representation by a seasoned defense attorney. An experienced lawyer could help you understand the potential sentences in your case and fight for a positive outcome at every step.
An offense level is determined by analyzing the sentencing guidelines. The offense level moves up or down based upon the analysis. The increase or decrease of points in the offense levels correspond to advisory guideline ranges. The goal of the defense attorney is to keep the range as low as possible.
In embezzlement cases, the starting point is usually at a six or a seven. However, the sentencing guidelines can increase or decrease depending on the facts of a case. For example, the level of trust the defendant had with the alleged victim may affect the guideline range. For example, if a person was in a position of trust working inside of a government agency, there could be large guideline enhancement upon a conviction for embezzlement.
A mandatory minimum sentence is created by statute; judges have no discretion when imposing such a sentence. Under this law, the sentence must be at least a minimum amount of time. Guideline sentences determined under the sentencing guidelines do not use mandatory minimums. When there is a conflict between a mandatory minimum sentence and an advisory guideline, the mandatory minimum always prevails.
Until 2004, the guidelines were mandatory. The judge had no discretion to move above or below the sentencing guideline range. For example, if a guideline range was determined to be 30 to 37 months or 24 to 30 months, the judge had to sentence within that range whether they wanted to or not. In 2004, the United States Supreme Court determined that the mandatory element of the guidelines was unconstitutional. Judges are now required to establish an advisory guideline range, but they may move upward or downward, depending on the factors set out in 18 U.S.C.§ 3553(a).
The guidelines provide information about potential sentences, and judges take them seriously. The higher the advisory guideline range, the more difficult it is to get a judge to drastically move downward. However, there are specific case types where judges acknowledge that the guideline ranges are not realistic with what the sentence should be. In those cases, it is easier for judges to come down because it has been acknowledged throughout the system that the guideline ranges are too high.
The sentencing guidelines for DC federal embezzlement cases are not always set in stone. A knowledgeable attorney could fight on your behalf for a more favorable outcome to your case. At every step of the case process, an attorney could help protect your rights. Call today to schedule a consultation and begin building a defense for your federal embezzlement case.
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