In New York, a conviction for a white-collar crime is not an easy thing to live with - legally, physically, socially and professionally. The penalties can vary, depending on the level of crime and defendant's particular circumstances. In general, most laws create a monetary fine, time behind bars or both.
It is important to recognize that criminal laws allow for maximum penalties; however, with good legal representation, many defendants receive less than the highest level of sentencing. Several jurisdictions follow sentencing guidelines, but these can vary from place to place.
The purpose of the guidelines is to make certain that punishment is uniform among offenders. If too much discretion is given to the court, this could create a lot of variety in criminal cases. On the other hand, it is important to recognize that the guidelines take into account the details of the crime, as well as the prior criminal history of the offender.
In special cases, the court may consider specific remedial factors, which could allow for a downward departure in the sentencing - one that deviates slightly from the guidelines. For example, defendants with no criminal history could be sentenced to probation or experience a suspended or reduced sentence.
Learn more about your charges by contacting the Law Office of Mark A. Bederow, P.C. Call (212) 256-9491 today.
What Are the General Sentencing Guidelines for White-Collar Crime in New York?
New York's legal system lays out the state's sentencing guidelines for white-collar crime penalties in Articles 70 and 80. Again, however, fines and prison time may vary, depending on the circumstances of the particular case. Each crime is assigned a specific Class, and each Class is associated with a specific maximum penalty.
Take a look at the following penalties for white-collar crimes:
- Class C felonies can result in 20 years behind bars and (or) a fine up to $5,000.
- Class D felonies carry a maximum seven-year prison sentence and (or) a fine of up to $5,000.
- Class E felonies can result in four years behind bars or a fine of not more than $5,000.
- Class A misdemeanors carry a one-year prison sentence and fines, which do not exceed $1,000.
- Class B misdemeanor convictions can lead to three months in prison and (or) $500 in fines.
In many cases, courts may assign a fine that equates to double the defendant's gain from the offense (in lieu of the maximum penalty). In line with this theory, if the defendant's gain cannot be quantified, sentencing can consider the victim's loss in calculating the appropriate fines for each penalty.
However, aside from standard penalties, a white-collar crime offender may face other serious repercussions. For example, many white-collar crimes bring about civil suits, too.
What Are Civil Repercussions to White-Collar Crimes Charges?
Civil suits are often brought by the federal or state government. Independent victims of the offense can also initiate them. It is important to recognize that civil liability is separate from criminal sanctions. Therefore, civil liability as a result of a white-collar crime is supplemental to charges imposed in a criminal matter.
The following might be considered supplemental charges:
- The government might initiate a civil matter that involves disgorgement - the handing over of profits obtained pursuant to the crime.
- This could also involve restitution payments, which should be provided to victims of the offense.
- In some matters, the government might try asset forfeiture. This means any property bought with the earnings of the white-collar offense would be taken.
In addition, victims of crimes can initiate their own civil cases, which aim to recover any money losses suffered as a result of the crime. Many white-collar offenders receive both criminal and civil repercussions. However, some consequences go beyond the courtroom. Some penalties exist after the legal turmoil is complete.
What Are the Physical Consequences?
Time Behind Bars in Prison
Some offenders garner physical consequences of the conviction. Most white-collar crimes are served in low-security environments. However, this is not always the case. The ultimate decision on where a person completes time is often left to presiding correctional authorities.
Of course, authorities attempt to place offenders in the appropriate facilities, but a defendant could be sent to a high-security institution. High-security institutions severely limit the rights of offenders. As a result, many housed in such facilities struggle physically and emotionally, as the restrictive setting takes a toll on offenders' wellbeing.
Social & Professional Consequences
After time is served, the impact of a white-collar conviction can still linger. A convicted person may experience difficulty maintaining or retaining employment. The problem is that white-collar crimes are offenses that typically involve dishonesty and deceit.
As a result, many employers are hesitant to employ an individual that has been found guilty of a crime of dishonesty. The conviction, in itself, suggests that the person is disloyal and untrustworthy. Specifically, it could be difficult to secure a job involving business records or money.
Ultimately, white-collar crimes carry serious challenges - in New York and elsewhere. Those convicted of a crime will undoubtedly confront stigma in the community and the professional environment. The ramifications of a conviction can strip the most powerful person of basic human rights.
Furthermore, if the convicted defendant is a non-citizen, he or she may have to deal with removal and other immigration-related consequences. In fact, even if a person is a lawful and permanent resident that is living and employed in the United States on a valid work visa, a white-collar crime conviction could mean removal from the country. Additionally, a criminal sanction could affect one's overall ability to become a citizen.
Put 20+ Years of Dedicated Legal Experience on Your Side
If you would like to learn more about federal and state white-collar crimes, it is best to consult with a legal professional. As you face any charges ahead, you will have to familiarize yourself with not only criminal, but also civil and social matters.
The good news is that a professional versed in federal and state criminal defense laws can help you prepare your case, and at worst, help alleviate potential consequences in the sentencing portion of your criminal matter. Do not let your matter consume the rest of your life. The Law Office of Mark A. Bederow, P.C. can help you assess your options.