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Unique Aspects of DC Federal Embezzlement Sentencing

The United States Sentencing Guidelines are used to identify the potential advisory sentencing guideline range in federal embezzlement cases. Various factors in the guidelines could come into play. The main factor is the loss amount, which is calculated under Section 2B 1.1 of the Guidelines. It addresses how loss is calculated, whether it is the actual loss or the intended loss. The way loss is calculated is extremely important when determining a sentence in a federal embezzlement case.

To learn more about the unique aspects of DC federal embezzlement sentencing, reach out to an accomplished lawyer. A seasoned federal embezzlement sentencing attorney could advocate for you and help you understand what to expect.

Base Offense Level For Federal Embezzlement Offenses

The base offense level is the starting point under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The sentencing guidelines are advisory. It used to be that after an extensive calculation was done, a guideline range of months was determined and was mandatory. In other words, if a guideline range was determined to be 30 to 37 months, a judge had to sentence within that range.

That changed in 2004 when the United States Supreme Court determined that the mandatory nature of the guidelines was unconstitutional. The guidelines now became advisory. The range must still be established, but judges do not have to follow that range and they can go above or below the range. They may sentence a person as they see fit concerning the sentence, but taking into account certain factors that are delineated by statute under 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a).

A base offense level is the starting point upon which enhancements, departures, or variances increase or decrease the potential offense level.

Two Factors Determining Sentencing

Two main factors are used to develop the advisory guideline ranges in federal cases, which is the criminal history category and the offense level. A criminal history category is determined by identifying prior convictions a person might have and whether or they were on supervised release or probation at the time an offense was committed. Many rules under the guidelines govern the calculation of criminal history. Once those calculations are made, an individual’s criminal history category is identified.

A person’s criminal history category might be open to debate, and the judge may make the final decision on the defendant’s criminal history category. As well, there is an opportunity to argue that an individual’s criminal history is over-represented when determining their final criminal history category. For example, if a person has five minor convictions for misdemeanors from years ago, that can sometimes inappropriately increase the person’s criminal history category. A judge may rule that the individual’s criminal history is over-represented and lower their criminal history category based on the defense attorney’s argument.

The second major factor is the offense level, which is established using a calculation under the guidelines by identifying the base offense level and possible enhancements that add to an offense level and departures or variances that may decrease it. It is up to a judge to determine the final offense level. The two factors are combined and an advisory guideline range is determined using a table that has the offense level running along the left-hand side. The criminal history category runs along the top and the different ranges of months make up the body of the table.

Special Offense Characteristics to Sentencing Federal Embezzlement Cases

Specific offense characteristics may come into play in federal embezzlement cases. They include the number of victims, the amount of money or loss involved, the role a person played, and whether a substantial amount of the scheme took place outside of the United States. Specific offense characteristics are some of the unique aspects of DC federal embezzlement sentencing.

One of the most common specific offense characteristics is the loss amount as established under Section 2B 1.1 of the sentencing guidelines. It is often the driving force in establishing the advisory guidelines range. The number of victims is also crucial to a case. When there are more than ten victims, there is a penalty enhancement. The issue of the person’s role and whether they were an organizer, a leader, or played a minor role can also be a factor.

Contact a DC Lawyer About the Unique Aspects of Federal Embezzlement Sentencing

Certain offense characteristics could vastly increase the potential sentence under the guidelines. While a judge does not have to follow the sentencing guidelines, they must establish the advisory guidelines range. However, it is often difficult for certain judges to come down significantly from that range.

For example, if a judge determines the range to be 72 to 87 months, it may be difficult to sentence the person to six months. Getting the advisory guideline range as low as possible makes it easier for a judge to take into account other factors under 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a). Those factors are:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense
  • The characteristics of the defendant
  • Deterrence – both specific and general
  • Treatment and education

The defense attorney’s goal is to use these factors to obtain a lower sentence for the defendant. Call today to learn more about the unique aspects of DC federal embezzlement sentencing.

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