Multiple theft crimes are classified at both the federal and state levels as being a type of misconduct. Misconduct occurs when an individual abuses their position of power, access, or trust in order to commit a crime. The misconduct always has an adverse impact on the case of person accused, especially if that person betrayed their fiduciary responsibilities. Misconduct enhancement in theft crimes can cause a person to be sentenced more harshly than another individual might be. The prosecution might emphasize the misconduct of the accused to paint their character in a negative light.
It’s vital that you talk to an attorney immediately if you’re facing any kind of misconduct-related theft charge on the federal or state level. Law enforcement will work with the prosecution to build a case against you. A defense lawyer is the only person who will be completely on your side throughout the process. They can help you navigate through the justice system and create a defense that preserves your reputation and character. Depending on the situation, your lawyer may argue to have the charges against you dropped, or they may help guide you through a plea negotiation for a reduced sentence.
Impact of Misconduct on Sentencing
Misconduct that was committed as part of a crime is bad enough, especially if the prosecution uses the misconduct to create a character defaming case. But if a person continues to engage in misconduct and inappropriate behavior during the course of the case, this can have a negative impact on their sentencing, even if it has nothing to do with the original crime.
When a person is accused of a theft crime, the prosecutor and judge will initially be seeing them as a thief. The job of the prosecution and law enforcement is to build the most ruthless and negative-seeming case against the defendant. A defense attorney is vital to push back against this. In these cases, one of the key roles of the defense attorney is to provide background and context so that the defendant can be considered in a more sympathetic light.
The misconduct that a person commits might or might not affect their sentence. There’s no codified statute regarding the ways that misconduct factors into sentencing. Instead, it will vary depending on the judge. If the judge believes that the defendant engaged in vicious and knowing misconduct that hurt other people, they’ll be more likely to pass down a harsh sentence. However, if the defense attorney can create a sympathetic portrayal of the defendant’s state of mind and character, the judge might be more inclined toward a relaxed sentence.
The way the defendant acts during the case will also have an impact. If a defendant is insolent, defensive, and remorseless during their trial, the judge will have a negative view of them. Conversely, if the defendant makes an effort to be open and honest and to make restitution for any past mistakes, the judge will generally have a more benevolent view of them.
There are basic guidelines and rules codified into federal and state statutes regarding criminal sentencing. But ultimately, a lot of your fate is up to the individual judge. The courtroom process is very human at its core. There’s no way for a machine to analyze the data and spit out a calculated sentence, because the judge chooses sentencing based in part on personal feelings.
If a person committed a crime that included a malicious and obnoxious abuse of power, and they don’t appear to feel any remorse, the judge will have fewer qualms about sentencing them to long terms in prison. But if a person comes across as a good-hearted individual who made a bad mistake and wants to fix it, the judge will be equally reticent to ruin their life with a harsh sentence.
An Attorney’s Role in Misconduct Enhancement
If you’ve been charged with a theft crime, you need to get in contact with a lawyer as soon as possible. Being arrested means that law enforcement and the prosecution have already gathered enough evidence to charge you. They’ve been working on their case already, and anything you do will just further their ends. No matter how much they pretend to be, law enforcement is not on your side once you’ve been arrested.
Your lawyer will have access to more information than you can get. They’ll understand how to navigate the system and how to lay out your options. They’ll also have past experience crafting strategies for cases just like yours. A good lawyer will explain to you the situation, the consequences you may be facing, and your options going forward. They’ll make a recommendation based on their reading of the situation. When you decide what you want to do, your lawyer will advocate for you to the best of their ability.
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