A plea bargain may lead to a more lenient fraud sentence

On Behalf of | May 5, 2020 | White Collar Crimes

A federal investigation may uncover substantial evidence that could assist a prosecutor in proving fraud. Someone facing felony fraud charges has a right to a jury trial. However, after reviewing evidence and hearing witness testimonies, a jury may decide to provide the prosecutor with a conviction. 

A judge may then order a lengthy sentence, which could include up to 20 years of imprisonment for each fraud count. A sentence could also require paying restitution and spending several years on supervised probation. 

Forgoing a jury trial in exchange for a reduced charge plea bargain 

When presented with a plea bargain, the defendant may have an opportunity to obtain a resolution closer to his or her own terms. Entering into a deal with a prosecutor, however, requires some understanding of how it usually works. 

The defendant first pleads guilty to at least one charge. In exchange for the admission of guilt, a prosecutor may then drop several other charges. 

The federal courts give prosecutors the legal authority to file numerous charges in anticipation of a defendant’s consideration of a plea deal. By avoiding a trial, the court can save time and money. According to the Pew Research Center, 90% of the defendants in federal court cases pleaded guilty rather than exercising their right to a trial. 

Using psychology to persuade a defendant to enter a plea 

By making use of certain psychological techniques, a prosecutor might attempt to overwhelm the defendant with an intimidating degree of purported evidence and legal information. When it appears that he or she could face a jury and receive a harsher punishment, admitting to the prosecutor’s charge that reflects the least amount of sentencing may appear to be a much more favorable outcome. 

Someone facing charges also has a choice of pleading no contest. This generally means not admitting to any guilt but accepting the court’s punishment. A prosecutor’s offer of a plea deal may, however, reflect greater sentencing leniency when the defendant agrees to admit to some guilt. 

FindLaw Network
Gary Jay Kaufman
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