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Federal Guidelines for Texas White-Collar Crime

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What Are the Sentencing Guidelines for White-Collar Crimes?

In Texas, most federal judges follow the federal sentencing guidelines for federal convictions. These guidelines are created to make recommendations based on the crime committed and the defendant’s criminal history. While judges often refer to these guidelines, they are not obligated to follow them to the letter.
The sentencing guidelines for non-violent, white-collar crimes consider the base offense levels, the amount of money stolen, and the number of victims. Base offense levels calculate the seriousness of the offense and rank it from one to 43, with one being the lowest and 43 being the highest. Most white-collar crimes rank around a 6 or 7. The amount of money stolen can increase this number, ranging from an increase of two points all the way to 30 points. Finally, the number of victims will increase the offense level, with ten or more victims increasing it by two and 50 or more victims increasing it by four.
Once this number has been calculated, the court will also consider other adjustments, like whether the offender obstructed justice, whether the offender knew the victim was vulnerable, and how much the offender participated in the crime. They will then use federal sentencing guidelines to make a sentencing recommendation. The sentencing will depend on the severity of the crime and the factors listed above but can result in years or even decades in jail. If you have been accused of a white-collar crime and need representation, call our law office today at (210) 899-7566.

What is Amendment 821?

Amendment 821 was introduced in the United States Sentencing Commission and offers a decrease in sentencing guidelines for certain offenders. If a criminal offender has no previous criminal history points and their crime did not involve certain aggravating factors, the Sentencing Commission has ruled to lower their sentencing recommendation calculation by two points. Most white-collar criminals do not have a criminal history, leading to much shorter sentencing recommendations for non-violent and non-sexual crimes.
Similarly, offenders with six or fewer criminal history points will no longer receive more status points. Offenders with seven or more criminal history points will only be given one additional criminal history point rather than the previous two points. This is to reduce the number of non-violent offenders in prison.

Who Does Not Benefit from Amendment 821?

Certain aggravating factors will impact whether an individual can benefit from Amendment 821. A criminal offender cannot lower their points if any of the following are true:

  • They have prior criminal history points
  • They caused death or serious bodily injury to another person
  • They used violence or threats of violence
  • They committed a sexual offense
  • They caused substantial financial hardship to others
  • They possessed a firearm or other dangerous weapon in connection with the offense
  • They committed a civil rights offense
  • They committed a hate crime
  • They engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise

Do White-Collar Criminals Receive Lighter Sentences?

White-collar crimes are almost always non-violent crimes that are solely focused on economic gain. Because of this, anyone who has not committed a major white-collar crime that impacted multiple people is very likely to receive a lighter sentence. Offenders who have no previous convictions on their record will also likely receive a shorter sentence than those who have criminal records.
Although sentencing times may be shorter, a white-collar conviction can still impact your life in many ways. Having a criminal record can be detrimental to your personal and professional life, making it difficult to find a job or make connections in your community. If you are facing white-collar charges, contact our law office today for representation.

Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

White-collar criminal convictions can carry penalties like hefty fines and extended stays in jail. Even if you are a first-time offender, the nature of your case could cause you to receive a harsh punishment based on federal guidelines. Our team at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC, has handled many white-collar criminal cases, and we can assist you no matter what charges you are facing. To build your defense and reduce or remove the penalties against you, contact our office today by calling (210) 899-7566.