Fraud Penalties in Stafford County 

If you are facing charges of fraud, reach out to a local defense attorney to discuss the potential fraud penalties in Stafford County and to begin building a proper defense. Besides the experienced representation, working with a lawyer has the added benefit of having a professional guide to advise you through an often intimidating and potentially overwhelming process. An attorney provides clarity at a time of confusion and can help you try to obtain a positive outcome in your case.

Sentencing Guidelines

It is important to understand that in Stafford County, there are more increased risks for severe penalties than there may be in other counties. The county has an aggressive Commonwealth prosecution office that sets felony trials for juries. This is impactful because when someone is sentenced for fraud charges, the judge must use the guidelines prepared by a probation officer and created by the Virginia Sentencing Commission. The guidelines even out sentences and give a sentence that is fair and similar to what others received under similar circumstances. On the other hand, a jury determines guilt or innocence and imposes punishment. The jury is not constrained by sentencing guidelines.

A person may be convicted of forgery and there is a total of 10 years available for sentencing, so the sentencing guidelines may give the person a year or less. A jury could potentially give out all 10 years, so there are more variations and less predictability in Stafford County when considering common penalties.

As far as fraud penalties in Stafford County, this puts the Commonwealth in a stronger position to ask for more jail time, more prison time, and to try to strong-arm offenders into taking pleas that are not in their best interest. This is another reason why is it important in Stafford County to involve counsel at every single phase, to make sure that one does not wind up with an unnecessarily negative outcome.

Felony Charges

When someone is convicted of a felony charge fraud, they are looking at a Class 6 felony classification in most cases. That charge carries up to five years in prison or 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. A person who never been charged before has the potential to get probation or a smaller amount of jail time.  In addition, there is usually a large amount of suspended time which they do not have to serve as long as they comply with probation and do not commit further offenses.

On the other hand, if a person has a lengthy criminal history, they may be looking at significantly more time, up to and including the full five years available on each charge.

Immediate Consequences

In some ways, the most serious consequence of a fraud conviction is that a person is now a felon because most of these offenses are felonies. That means they lose their civil rights, including the right to vote, the right to hold the office, and even the right to possess or own a firearm.

An immediate consequence for someone convicted of fraud is the loss of employment or difficulty finding employment in the future. In addition, a person can find themselves on probation for a significant amount of time.

Long Term Consequences

The long term consequences of a conviction include having a charge on someone’s criminal record. That alone makes fraud penalties in Stafford County for any future offenses more serious. The more offenses someone commits, the worse things become as they move down the line.

In addition, a fraud charge makes it difficult for many people to work in their chosen career or field. A fraud charge can cause the loss of professional licenses as well as the loss of a current job. Prospective employers who run a criminal background check will probably pass on offering a job to someone based on their conviction.

Likelihood of a Plea Deal

A plea deal may be offered in someone’s fraud case. The question is whether a person can get a fair or favorable plea deal. That depends on how good their defenses are and how convincingly their attorney can make the case.

The stronger the defenses and the more anxiety the prosecutor feels at the realization that they may lose their case, the more likely the person charged can receive an offer that is favorable or fair. Doing mitigation work such as education classes and community service can influence this.

How an Attorney Can Help Fight the Charges

Because of the serious nature of fraud penalties in Stafford County, it is essential to work with an attorney with experience in this area of the law. Such an attorney will be well equipped to anticipate and challenge the arguments of the prosecution, while at the same time guiding and advising you through the oft overwhelming legal process of defending against the charges. If you have been accused of fraud, contact a skilled local attorney today.