Downward Departure in Virginia Beach Embezzlement Cases

A downward departure means that the Sentencing Guidelines recommend a low-end of two years. If a person is able to convince the Judge that that is an excessive amount of time for their particular situation and the Judge only gives him a year, that is considered a downward departure.

In that scenario, the person would receive a lot of suspended time with a number of conditions. If the person does not comply with those conditions, the suspended time would be imposed upon him. A downward departure involves the Judge giving a person a break based on the circumstances of the case. Downward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement cases is possible, but it requires the assistance of an experienced lawyer.

Role of Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating circumstances are things make the circumstances seem not as bad as they are. For example, a person has a family member diagnosed with a horrible disease and decides to embezzle this money to pay for a treatment for their family member.

What they did was still wrong. However, they were not doing it for personal gain. Rather, they were doing it to help somebody else. Therefore, it does not appear on the surface as bad as if they were embezzling money so they could drive a Maserati.

The Judge will look at certain things. First of all, whether or not the person has accepted responsibility for their actions. That makes a big difference. Judges are hesitant, if not outright unwilling, to go below the Sentencing Guidelines for somebody who denies responsibility.

Judges will often look to the opinion of the plaintiff as well. The Judge might not ask them directly what they think should be done, but if the plaintiff has made peace with the defendant (especially if it is a family member), and is not necessarily seeking a lengthy jail sentence, the Judges will take that into consideration.

The Judge also takes into consideration how much money was taken. If it was a relatively small amount, the Judge would be more likely to consider downward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement case. And, with regard to loss estimation, the Judge does not catch all of the elements and often overvalues certain factors, such as a past criminal record or previous felony. Even if it was 20 years prior, it will show up on the record of a defendant. That set of circumstances alone could lead to a higher sentence than someone would otherwise get.

Role Of Criminal History

A past criminal record is noted in the Sentencing Guidelines and plays a big role in the decision of the court. Points are given for past misdemeanors and felonies. The higher the points, the higher the sentence.

Beyond that, the court can take into consideration the fact the defendant has no criminal record or perhaps that they sustained charges many years ago. The Judge will be more likely to show leniency on this defendant, believing it was just a bad decision and out of character.

However, if has made a career of criminal behavior, the Judge may not feel the need to be constrained by the Sentencing Guidelines at all.

Uncoerced Plea Bargain

A uncoerced plea bargain is when there is no written agreement between the Commonwealth and the defendant, and the defendant agrees to plead guilty, placing themselves at the mercy of the court.

Anything that is coerced should not be agreed to. If the defendant pleads guilty, the Judge will ask if they were given any promises by the Commonwealth, whether they have agreed to drop any charges, or agreed to any sentence. The defendant will acknowledge that what they did was wrong and asking the court for mercy.

Judges usually give the defendant a benefit when they plead guilty. Some judges do consider whether or not it was a guilty plea without any sort of agreement or inducement, when determining their sentence.

Reasons To Consult With A Lawyer

Defense counsel will make the argument for downward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement casesĀ at sentencing. These charges can carry with them 20 years in prison as a maximum and, depending on how much was taken, a person could run the risk of jail time.

An experienced lawyer can present the evidence in such a way that the Judge is going to be inclined to think that a long jail sentence is not necessary; that the defendant understands what they have done wrong; and the better course of action would be to lessen actual jail time so the defendant can repay the alleged victim and make them whole.