If you’re charged with a theft crime, the degree and severity of the charge will vary depending on the circumstances. Regardless of the charge or the seriousness, it’s vital to get in contact with a lawyer as soon as possible. Lawyers are experienced in navigating the criminal justice system. They can protect you from the predatory tactics of law enforcement, help explain your options, and create the best defense based on the evidence being presented by the prosecution. A lawyer may be able to get the charges or potential sentence reduced. They may also be able to help demonstrate evidence showing that the prosecution is incorrect and that the allegations are false.
You should never wait to be indicted or convicted before you ask for a lawyer. As soon as law enforcement is involved in the situation, you should get a lawyer as a form of self-protection. This is especially true if you’re innocent. The earlier in the process that you involve your lawyer, the easier a time you’ll have navigating the criminal justice process.
Mandatory sentences are a complicated aspect of the legal system. They can vary slightly depending on whether you’re dealing with state or federal regulations. Different states have different outlined penalties for different infractions. Each crime has different classifications and degrees. Within those classifications, each crime also has a minimum and maximum potential sentence. A judge will choose a sentence from that range. If you want to avoid the minimum possible sentence, you’ll need to strike a plea deal with the prosecution.
Mandatory Minimums Defined
Mandatory minimums are defined differently depending on different circumstances. One place that mandatory minimums are imposed is in cases where a defendant has had a previous felony conviction within the last ten years. It doesn’t matter what the felony conviction was for – another felony conviction means that they will have to serve a mandatory minimum sentence.
There are also mandatory minimums for people who steal more than $1,000,000. If the valuation of the theft was more than $1,000,000, then the defendant will need to serve a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction. This remains true even if they had no prior criminal record.
Appealing Mandatory Minimums
There are some ways to appeal a mandatory minimum sentence, but you’ll want a lawyer for all of them. It’s important to have effective assistance counsel. During the case negotiations, your lawyer can create a strategy to help you avoid experiencing a mandatory minimum sentence or to reduce the mandatory minimum.
The best way to avoid a mandatory minimum is during the initial case. But if you’ve received a conviction that includes a mandatory minimum sentence, you’ll also want a lawyer to help guide you through the appeals process. Your options for appealing a sentence will vary depending on the circumstances of the crime, your conviction, and your options for restitution.
The Role an Attorney Plays
Sentencing lawyers can guide you through the entire justice process. From the moment you’re arrested and charged, your lawyer is your biggest advocate. They will have access to information regarding the prosecution, the case being built against you, and the information that law enforcement is compiling. They will also have previous experience with similar cases.
A criminal lawyer understands how mandatory sentences work on a federal and state level. They will be able to explain the ramifications of the charges that you’re facing. They’ll also be able to explain the options you have going forward based on the evidence that the prosecution has compiled. You and your lawyer will create a strategy together.
Sometimes the strategy will involve plea negotiations with the prosecution to avoid a mandatory minimum sentence. In a plea negotiation, you’ll usually be asked to plead guilty to a lesser charge for a reduced sentence. There won’t always be a plea deal available, and your lawyer will be able to advise you about whether a plea deal is a good option.
Should the case go all the way to a judge, your lawyer will be able to create a strategy to argue your case. They may argue to have your charges reduced, or they may argue for a more lenient sentence based on your actions. For example, if you pay restitution and indicate that you want to make the situation right, judges tend to be more forgiving in their sentencing.
Your lawyer may also be able to poke holes in the prosecution’s case during the arguments. If the prosecution’s evidence isn’t able to definitively prove that you committed the crime, your lawyer will point that out. The burden is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. Your lawyer’s job is to examine the facts to determine and point out the existence of reasonable doubt.
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