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Impact of Mandatory Sentences in New York Embezzlement Cases

If charged with an embezzlement related offense, an accused person should absolutely begin to develop their defense and seek the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible point to ensure that their rights are protected, and the do everything possible to make sure that they are not steamrolled by the extremely complex and overwhelming criminal justice system in New York. While the prosecutor must present evidence to meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict an individual charged with a crime of this type, that is no reason to rest on your laurels. Whether you are facing patently false allegations, or are simply being treated unfairly by the criminal justice system, an experienced embezzlement attorney can help you find the means to challenge the case in order to minimize or eliminate the many disparate impacts that such a charge can have on your life and livelihood. It is certainly not a good idea until you have been charged, or eve worse to wait until you’ve been indicted by a grand jury to start this conversation and prepare a defense or negotiation strategy. This is especially true given the potentially severe sentences that can, and in some cases must, be imposed in an embezzlement case. Contact a lawyer about the impact of mandatory sentences in embezzlement cases and how to try combating them.

Defining Mandatory Minimums

If someone has a prior felony in the past ten years, that makes them what is referred to as a “predicate felon” or a “second felony offender.” This brings with it more severe sentencing, including a mandatory minimum period of state prison if convicted of the current felony fraud charge. If the amount stolen or misappropriated is over $1,000,000, even if the person does not have this kind of a criminal record, there will still be a mandatory minimum prison sentence, with the option or possibility of probation being removed from the equation. This idea of mandatory minimums relates back to sentencing laws and their structure. When a person is convicted of a felony in New York, the nature of the charge, including whether it is a “violent” felony or a drug charge or not, as well as the person’s record of prior felony convictions leaves the judge with a very specific range of options when it comes to imposing a sentence. In some situations, the judge’s only option is state prison, with a certain number of years as the bottom end, and a maximum number of years at the top. But just because a person is not facing a mandatory minimum state prison sentence does not mean that state prison is off the table, of course. The idea that if you are not facing mandatory state prison time, you won’t likely ever be sentenced to state prison may be true in other jurisdictions, but it could not be further from the truth. Most people do not understand or appreciate the significance of the sentencing rules and minimums, which can and do often have a significant impact on plea negotiations and can even have a major impact on trial defense strategy, especially when it comes to what charges to focus on defending, and what charges to consider conceding. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself in a situation where a judge has no choice but to send you to state prison.

Appealing a Mandatory State Prison Sentence

Just as the trial judge is bound by the range of sentences given a particular charge and the person’s particular criminal history, an appellate court will be bound by the same laws and statutes. While you can potentially appeal a trial judge’s sentence as being unduly harsh and excessive, asking the appellate court to reduce that sentence, the appellate court can only reduce it to the extent that the law allows. What this means is that once you’ve pleaded guilty or been convicted of a crime that carries a mandatory minimum state prison sentence, there is no way out of serving a state prison sentence without unwinding the conviction entirely which can be very difficult to achieve.

Role of an Attorney

A lawyer experienced in these many complex sentencing dynamics can understand the evidence, see flaws in the prosecution’s case, and be prepared to respond to law enforcement’s misrepresentations in the context of a plea negotiation or sentencing hearing. Such a person will also understand the impact of mandatory sentences in embezzlement cases and may be able to deal with these issues preemptively

A prosecutor may make bold statements about what the evidence would establish, where in fact those statements greatly overstate the facts and strength of the case.. An attorney familiar with the sentencing while also having extensive trial experience will also have a good sense of a judge’s general thought processes when they make these kinds of sentencing decisions. The individual’s ability to pay back stolen money in the form of restitution will also be addressed by the presiding judge. Having someone experienced in this area in your corner can be key.

Call the criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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