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Embezzlement Sentencing Guidelines in Maryland

Embezzlement cases are sentenced harshly and in accordance with the amount of property, money, or harm that the individual has been convicted of taking. The penalty could be no jail or a substantial period of imprisonment, depending on the amount and the damage.

While Maryland itself does not have sentencing guidelines, within the federal courts, there are sentencing guidelines. These require the court to use a grid or a similar option to determine penalties based on the crime and the defendant’s criminal background among other factors. Those guidelines are not required in every state and Maryland has not elected to use this system.

Sentencing often happens immediately after a trial when the defendant has been found guilty or after the defendant proceeds via a guilty plea. It would be wise for the defendant to have the same Maryland federal embezzlement attorney that represented them during the trial or plea negotiations for the sentencing phase as that person intimately understands the facts of the case and what happened during the proceeding since she or he was involved from the beginning.

State and Federal Guidelines

Baltimore does not have strict sentencing guidelines such as those at the federal level. That being said, there is a guideline sentencing calculation that local prosecutors employ that takes into account the nature of the offense and the history of the defendant in order to convey a plea offer to the defense. Embezzlement can be punished with up to five years imprisonment and there is a minimum sentence of one-year incarceration if convicted. The actual sentence imposed will depend on the defendant’s criminal record and the value of what was taken. Additionally, there could be other charges, like theft, that accompany the embezzlement charge.

In Maryland, the penalty for embezzlement is up to five years’ incarceration. The minimum sentence for the offense is one year of imprisonment, but the one-year sentence does not have to be executed. It could be a suspended sentence.

Sentencing Factors

Two judges, with similar facts, in different courtrooms can impose varying sentences without regard to what another judge might sentence.

Whether the embezzlement was a single incident or multiple incidents would impact sentencing for the offense. If the act of embezzling happened once, the sentence may not be as harsh as it would be if the total amount taken was the same, but was taken in smaller increments over time. There are a lot of variables that can be considered when a judge is sentencing an individual.

Unlike other theft charges, someone that embezzles or is accused of embezzling is a fiduciary or a person in a position of trust. A person that is accused of embezzlement had authority to do something and to act on the behalf of another person or entity and is accused of misusing or abusing that trust for personal gain, against the interest of the person that they are acting for.

The alleged victim may also impact the sentence. If a person is a fiduciary for a bank that has substantial assets. It will be treated differently than a defendant who is a fiduciary for an elderly person or small business owner who, because of the theft, may lose their home and/or business.  Even if the amount in this circumstance was the same as what another embezzled from a bank, the sentence is likely to be harsher. The characteristics of the alleged victim can affect how a judge sentences a defendant, regardless of what method was used to take the money.

Strategies To Mitigating Sentences

There are numerous strategies that apply to how a lawyer can help the defendant. The attorney will also negotiate with prosecutors if it is beneficial to do so. There may also be other mitigating steps that a lawyer can recommend to a client. If what was taken was money that can be paid back, frequently, a judge is interested in whether the alleged victim is going to be paid back, can be paid back, or, most significantly, has been paid back. Those are factors that can look much better for an individual when they go before a judge for trial and/or sentencing.