Tax fraud offenses can have serious consequences for individuals who are charged. An individual could face extensive fines and lengthy sentences, depending on the severity of the offense and the person’s previous criminal history. If you have been charged with a tax fraud offense, it is important to consult a distinguished federal tax fraud attorney. A seasoned Maryland tax fraud sentencing lawyer could identify mitigating factors in order to reduce the severity of an individual’s offense. Speak with a lawyer today to know that you are in capable hands.
As a Maryland tax fraud sentencing lawyer might explain, there are guidelines setting a range of possible prison time that are calculated based on the offense. Other factors may adjust those guidelines up or down. The judge and parties use these guidelines and additional factors, including the defendant’s personal background, personal characteristics, the deterrent effect of the sentence, and the impact of the crime on the victim, if any. These are taken into consideration when the judge determines the sentence.
Mandatory minimum sentences do not exist for tax fraud cases. The government has not set any mandatory minimums for tax fraud. The guidelines are derived from loss from the tax fraud. It goes from zero to six months, which is the lowest category with no prison time, to over 15 years.
Federal sentencing differs from state-level sentencing when it comes to tax fraud in that the federal court is more structured and thorough during the sentencing process. The factors are delineated more by statute and regulation, and the penalties are significantly harsher in federal sentencing. In court, the principles are the same. Guidelines are used as a starting point and the courts look a holistic set of factors about the accused’s criminal background, personal background, and other factors as they do in federal. The federal sentencing guidelines lay out the factors to be considered a lot more thoroughly. There are mandatory sentencing memos and mandatory pre-sentence reports from the federal probation office for each party’s opinion on what the defendant should be. That process is a lot more involved and presents more analysis of all the factors that are consistently gotten in state courts. The other main difference is that the penalties, guidelines, and sentences are often lengthier and harsher in federal courts.
Four sentencing zones exist when a person is charged with tax fraud and they determine a person’s criminal sentence. In federal sentences, there are zones A, B, C, and D that correspond to progressively more severe penalties. If a person is in Zone A, it means they are eligible for probation. They may get a sentence of zero months and not serve any time beyond probation with some supervision. If a person is in Zone B, they may be eligible for probation with stricter conditions, such as home detention, living in a halfway house, or serving an intermittent sentence, which means they serve on the weekends and are released during the week. A Maryland tax fraud sentencing lawyer could attempt to mitigate the severity of the consequences a person may face.
In Zone C, a person has to serve half of their sentence in prison and may be eligible for release halfway through their sentence. Zone D is the most severe zone. There are ways they may be able to get the person’s sentence reduced, but there are no significant or special benefits like with Zone A, B, and C. Zones escalate rapidly in tax fraud cases based on the amount of the loss due to the crime. Once a person hits $5,500 based on their sentencing range, it is going to be Zone B, which means they are only going to be able to be out of prison if they are on home detention.
If a person is in a halfway house or a community work program, once the value of loss gets over $15,000 or into Zone C, they have to do at least half their sentence. Once that loss gets over $40,000, they are in Zone D and they are not going to have the option of any special considerations. There are other things that may affect the guideline range. In addition, it takes the value of the loss as their starting point. If the value is over $40,000 and they started in Zone D, there are factors that their lawyer may argue to bring that down into Zone C or Zone B. The dollar value at the starting point gets ti significant consequences quickly.
A person wants a Maryland tax fraud sentencing lawyer present at their tax fraud sentencing hearing to help the person stay out prison, first and foremost. The hearing is when the judge determines the sentence. It could be anywhere from zero months, which means a person is going to get to back to their home, family, and job with supervision or probation, or it could be over a decade in prison. The range is probably not going to be that wide, but it is going to be a range and their lawyer should advocate and argue on their behalf and know what arguments to make to try to get that number as low as possible. The lawyer will be arguing on the person’s behalf and a good lawyer should have the skills and experience to make an effective argument and achieve the best possible outcome for an individual.