A white-collar crime is usually something that people see as victimless, and the charges are often less severe than other forms of crime. When compared to violent crime or something similar, it’s clear that white-collar allegations aren’t so serious. But, what happens when you have a criminal history?
Plenty of people have a past, and often that can include drug charges, theft charges, and even violent crime. But, a record of allegations or charges shouldn’t work against you. What might affect your case, however, is past convictions.
If you’ve been charged with a crime and need help, call an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney.
Judges Struggle to Decide Appropriate Punishments for White-Collar Allegations
White-collar offenders are often not likely to repeat and are often quick to rehabilitate, with most not serving a full sentence. So should a judge even consider past crimes when sentencing? In the event that someone is convicted for a white-collar crime, the prosecutor could argue that the judge thinks of the defendant’s past criminal behavior.
Under federal sentencing law, a judge could consider the person’s criminal record. However, they can also consider elements that wouldn’t be on the table in other crimes. For example, a recent determination in New York’s 10th circuit was for probation rather than the recommended five years. The judge’s rationale in this was that the defendant owed a duty to pay back the victims and to do that, he needed to remain in his position.
Most Sentencing is Based on Harm Suffered
Unlike violent crime, which has pretty standard expectations in terms of sentencing, judges have a lot of license in sentencing for white-collar crimes. Usually, they look at the extent of the harm and what it’s going to take to make things right. In times when the people affected will rely on the defendant for restitution, then the judge may focus more on getting the defendant back to work.
Basically, the sentencing for white-collar crimes looks for ways to benefit the victims, rather than focus on punishing the guilty party. It makes it much less severe in terms of being away from your family, spending time in jail, or losing your career. However, even six months or so away from your family could seem devastating, especially knowing that you’ll spend years paying restitution, fees, and other fines.
Past Crimes and Submitting Mitigating Evidence
If you do have a history of committing crimes, then it may come to light that you would be likely to re-offend. In that sense, you’ll need an attorney to arrange to submit mitigating evidence during your sentencing. After receiving a guilty verdict, the guilty party will be able to submit an explanation of past crimes or events which might have impacted the case or would impact the sentencing.
If you know that the prosecutor will use your criminal history to argue for harsh sentencing, then you can submit mitigating evidence for that history. Mitigating evidence can include a rough upbringing, abusive parent, drug use, and even falling on hard times.
For example, if you just received a guilty verdict for an embezzlement charge and you know that you have a prior theft conviction, you would want to address that. But, you would want to address it in a way that shows you wouldn’t be likely to re-offend. Mitigating evidence for the theft charge could be not having food in the house growing up, and that resulting in the theft charge. Or, being an addict and now you’re in recovery. Essentially you want to mitigate past crimes, so they don’t create a pattern of offenses.
Is Your Criminal History an Aggravator?
Because there is no standard or sentencing regimen for white-collar crimes, you won’t be seeing aggravators in these cases very often. An aggravating factor won’t necessarily lead to harsher sentencing and often won’t even be heard because it isn’t relevant, and that includes your criminal past. If you’re worried about your criminal past for this case, then contact a criminal attorney.
When to Contact a Local Criminal Attorney
Getting a criminal defense attorney in CT is not necessarily a luxury you should avoid. When you’re up against allegations, white-collar, or otherwise, you want the right attorney on your case. At Aeton Partners, our team submits all the information into consideration, and we build a strong case to help fight for your freedom.
When it comes to criminal records and current white-collar charges, you may need someone to explore and explain your past. Working with a local criminal defense law firm can give you the security you need to know that you’re getting the support you need.