Criminal defense is not always a matter of attempting to avoid all criminal liability. In fact, many cases of criminal defense involve minimizing the consequences of criminal charges by ensuring that prosecutors are able to provide sufficient evidence to support each and every charge. This is an important task in criminal defense, because without some sort of check on the work of prosecutors, many defendants would suffer worse consequences than they deserve under the law.
The importance of ensuring accurate charges is particularly important in fraud cases, because the consequences of fraud charges are largely determined by the amount money involved. When officers overcharge in terms of the amount of money involved in a fraud case, it can result in significantly more prison time for the defendant.
The federal sentencing guidelines work off of two basic factors when determining sentences. First, there is the conduct of the offense itself, which determines the offense level. The other factor is the defendant’s criminal history. The relationship between these two factors results in a sentencing range, listed in months, to be used by a court at sentencing.
In fraud offenses, the amount of money alleged to be involved in the offense impacts the offense level. In other words, the more money prosecutors say the defendant fraudulently obtained, the high the offense level. It is important, therefore, for defendant to work with their attorney to ensure that all charges are accurate and supported by the evidence. In doing that, a defendant can at least work to ensure that the consequences of charges are minimized.
Source: Ussc.gov, “United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual,” Accessed October 21, 2014.