White Collar Criminal Defense
White-collar offenses are typically related to business, commercial, and financial enterprises. Offenses such as fraud, embezzlement, government procurement fraud, healthcare fraud, and bribery are typically referred to as “white collar” crimes because white collar professionals are generally those individuals who are targeted for investigation. Due to the complex nature of these offenses, and the potential risks and damage that can be wrought by conviction, it is crucial that anyone facing such charges contact a white collar criminal defense lawyer. That lawyer will possess the skills and experience necessary for providing a strong defense against all of the offenses that fall within the category of white collar crimes, which includes:
- Misbranding/Importation of Pharmaceuticals
- Money Laundering
- Obstruction of Justice
- Tax Fraud
There are a myriad of law enforcement agencies that conduct investigations of potential white collar crimes. Those agencies include, but are not limited to, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Labor (DOL), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These and other agencies devote an enormous amount of money, manpower, and investigative techniques to their efforts.
Most white collar criminal investigations, if they result in indictment, are federal in nature. A conviction for a white collar crime can carry enormous legal, personal, and professional consequences. The potential federal prison sentences and restitution amounts are much more severe than that for similar charges in state courts. The issues related to sentencing in white collar cases are extremely complex and require an exhaustive knowledge of the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG).
United States Sentencing Guidelines
The guidelines were created by the United States Sentencing Commission. The Commission attempted to eliminate disparity in sentencing for the same offense in different courts across the country by establishing factors that are applied to calculate what’s called an offense level. The offense level is used, along with a calculation of one’s prior criminal record, to establish a guidelines range in the Sentencing Table, which is a grid that shows potential sentences in months of imprisonment. The guidelines used to be mandatory; that is to say the judges had no discretion to sentence outside of the ranges in the Sentencing Table. In 2005, in United States v. Booker, the Supreme Court held that the ranges were no longer mandatory.
Now, judges have to make a preliminary guidelines calculation of criminal history and offense level. There are, however, other factors that they are to consider under a statute titled 18 U.S.C. Section 3553 (a). Those factors are:
(1) The nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant;
(2) The need for the sentence imposed -
(A) They reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and provide just punishment for the offense;
(B) To afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;
(C) To protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and
(D) To provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner;
(3) The kinds of sentences available;
(4) The kinds of sentence and the sentencing range established for -
(A) The applicable category of offense committed by the applicable category of defendant as set forth in the guidelines…;
(5) Any pertinent policy statement.
No matter what the alleged crime may entail, an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer is essential if you find yourself targeted by the federal government. We represent clients in white collar criminal cases, government investigations, federal criminal cases, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and RICO matters. If you have been charged or are currently under investigation for such crimes, please click through to our contact page to schedule an office consultation.
Here is some information on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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