Upward Departure in Virginia Beach Embezzlement Cases 

Embezzlement is a serious crime in Virginia Beach. As a result, the potential sentences a person may face can be equally severe. A judge decides the sentence a person will receive, with the assistance of the embezzlement sentencing guidelines, which dictate how lax or severe the defendant’s sentence should be.

The sentencing guidelines have a range of high and low-end sentences. If someone receives a downward departure, they are receiving a sentence on the low end of the guidelines.  Whereas if someone receives an upward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement cases, it means they are receiving a sentence on the high end of the guidelines. If you face embezzlement charges and have questions about upward embezzlement, an adept embezzlement attorney can guide you and present your case.

Difference Between Upward and Downward Departure

If a person is convicted of embezzlement at a bench trial and the Judge sentences them according to the sentencing guidelines, the guidelines produce a range of what is called the low-end (which is the lowest part of recommended sentence) to a high-end (which is the most the Judge is recommended to give). If it is an upward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement cases, the judge is going to give a person more than the high-end of the guidelines.

If it is a downward departure, the judge is going to give a person less time than the low-end of the Guidelines. The guidelines only apply to bench trials. If it is a jury trial, the jury will never see the guidelines. The sentencing guidelines in Virginia are merely advisory, not mandatory, and while Judges do stay within the guidelines most of the time, there is nothing that says they have to.

How Upward Departure Affects Sentencing

In an upward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement cases, the judge determines that sentencing guidelines are not appropriate. If the sentencing guidelines suggested a maximum of a year and a half and the judge, based on the facts of the case decided that a person’s conduct was worse, then the Judge could sentence them to more time than the guidelines recommend.

Mitigating Circumstances That May Lead to Upward Departure

In reference to upward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement cases, mitigating circumstances is incorrect, instead, they are referred to as aggravating circumstances. Beyond that, the judge and all relevant parties receive a copy of the person’s record. While the sentencing guidelines do take the defendant’s past record into account, if they have a very bad criminal record, the judge may feel that adjustments on the guidelines are not enough.

Judges also look at the defendant’s relationship to the person they embezzled from, and their opinion. If they are extremely upset with the defendant and do not believe that everyone will get their money back, that is going to weigh on the judge’s decision.

If the defendant admitted their wrongdoing and wants to make it right, the judge will give credit to that. But, if the defendant does not admit to any fault, plus the amount of money taken, this is going to upset the judge. While sentencing guidelines do take that into consideration, it is a situation when the judge may feel that the guidelines do not recommend enough jail time.

Role of Targeted Person

In cases where there is a sentencing event, the alleged victims will prepare a Victim Impact Statement for sentencing. That is something that is included in the pre-sentence report for the judge to review. If the individual is very upset and has quite obviously been harmed, it is not going to be easy to make them whole again. That is something the judge can take into consideration.

There are more cases where a person has been physically injured, not so much in embezzlement cases, but it does happen. If the alleged victim was an older person who has been deprived of a substantial sum of money that was tucked away to live out their retirement comfortably, that will weigh heavily with the judge in determining the defendant’s sentence.

Consulting an Embezzlement Sentencing Lawyer

When a defendant is looking at possibly 20 years in prison, because of upward departure in Virginia Beach embezzlement cases, they do not want to go to court without proper guidance. An experienced defense attorney to present their case to the judge. The defendant will need a lawyer to speak to the Judge and present their case in order to assure that the defendant receives a fair trial and a fair chance at a positive outcome.