Is a 4 year prison sentence excessive for a first time offender?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is a 4 year prison sentence excessive for a first time offender?

My son has never even had a ticket, but made a bad choice in his business. He admitted his involvement from the start (fraud) and helped with the investigation. His parole officer and the DA both asked for lenient sentences but the judge said he disagreed with them both and gave my son 4 years in federal prison. Isn’t this excessive?

Asked on April 4, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

Jonathan Stanwood / Law Office of Jonathan H. Stanwood, LLC

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whether a person is a first time offender or not has a direct bearing on the sentence because there is no prior record score.  But even still, it may not be an excessive sentence.  The primary concern in this situation is whether it was an illegal sentence and what the sentencing guidelines called for on his offense, with zero prior record.  The appeal period is probably 30 days so act fast.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It actually carries fairly little weight, whether or not somebody is a first-time offender. After all, everyone is a first-time offender the first time they are arrested; Bernie Madoff was a first time offender when he was arrested for stealing billions of dollars. The main factors involved are the seriousness of the offense and the intent (as seen by the court) of the defendant when he committed the crime. Furthermore, while judges often respect prosecutor, etc. requests, they are not obligated to follow them; and often, a defendant's cooperation is discounted is it appears he "came clean" only to save his own skin, not out of genuine contrition (e.g. did not come forward voluntarily, but only started cooperating when caught). If your son as received the appropriate number of years, basd on the sentencing guidelines, for the specific crime(s) of which he was convicted, and he also met the criteria to be convicted of that crime, then the sentence is probably not excessive--which does NOT mean that you and your son should not try to appeal it on any available grounds. He should speak with a criminal defense attorney, espcially one who specializes in appeals.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption