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Misconduct Enhancements in Maryland Tax Fraud Cases

While a tax fraud case is being conducted, there are behavioral expectations for those involved. If this conduct is violated, the accused could face an increase to their offense classification or additional aggravated penalties to their sentencing. A distinguished tax evasion attorney could help you better understand the consequences of misconduct enhancements in Maryland tax fraud cases. Should you be accused of misconduct throughout your case, speak with a lawyer right away.

What is a Misconduct Enhancement?

A misconduct enhancement is an increase in offense level and a corresponding increase in the sentencing guidelines.  An action that qualifies as misconduct could be obstructing justice. There is no obligation to assist an investigation, but if a person takes active steps to interfere with the investigation, that can be considered misconduct.

The conduct may also constitute an independent crime, or it may not.  Either way, it can be considered an example of misconduct that the court can use when calculating the guidelines, warranting an upward departure to the guidelines.

Can Misconduct Enhancement Impact Tax Fraud Sentencing?

Misconduct enhancements in Maryland tax fraud cases will likely have no effect on mandatory minimum sentencing. It can be critical for the accused to do their best to avoid the application of a misconduct enhancement. A lawyer will likely advise the accused on what conduct could expose them to a potential enhancement in the hopes that the individual will avoid that behavior. If the government is seeking the application of an enhancement, the lawyer will construct and present an argument as to why the enhancement is not applicable to the potential client’s conduct.

Likelihood of Tax Fraud Case Enhancements Due to Behavior

Since there are no mandatory minimum sentences in tax fraud cases, the only way one can be involved in misconduct enhancements in Maryland tax fraud cases is if the defendant committed a crime that is subject to one. A lawyer may try to negotiate with the government to get that charge amended to one that does not carry a minimum sentence.

In other words, they may negotiate a plea to the tax fraud charge with no mandatory minimum if the government agrees to dismiss the separate charge that carried the mandatory minimum. There is no mandatory minimum sentence for tax fraud cases. Tax fraud sentencing relies on the advisory sentencing guidelines and the factors outlined in 18 USC 3553.

How an Attorney Could Help

An experienced tax fraud sentencing lawyer will be familiar with the conduct that warrants upward or downward departures.  The lawyer will know how to craft arguments to maximize the downward departures and minimize the upward departures.  The language of the statutes involving upward and downward departures is generally broad and can be subjective.

An experienced lawyer will be familiar with case law that defines the relevant terms and will know how to present a defense and obtain a downward departure for the accused. The lawyer is likely to look at the case holistically and know what facts can be applied in the individual’s favor, or contrarily to push back and respond to attempts by the government for an upward departure.