J. Pete Theodocion, Attorney at Law
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Augusta Criminal Defense Blog

How do mandatory minimum penalties affect prisons?

If you're caught transporting drugs or are accused of running a cartel, you're in a difficult position. You may face hefty fines and significant charges.

Your attorney's goal is to help reduce the penalties you face, which can help you avoid lengthy prison sentences and penalties in some cases.

So, you’ve been called before a grand jury?

The concept of a grand jury was first recognized as a part of the English Magna Carta in the year 1215. The jury was formed to help decide the guilt or innocence of the accused by way of presenting information and evidence to help make the case. If you are ever called to a jury, there are some terms you may want to brush up on. The accused is the person that is accused of the crime, they are not determined to be guilty or innocent if they are accused. You may also hear the term Charge to the grand jury, these are a set of instructions that help the jury learn what they should be doing and how they can best do their job.

As a jury member you are going to also come across the term deliberations or the discussion that you are going to have with your fellow jurors regarding if you think there is enough information to find the accused either guilty or innocent. As a juror you will be presented with evidence in the form of testimony, documents, and more.

Understand the serious nature of insurance fraud charges

Federal fraud charges are serious business. A federal charge can land you in prison for years, and the financial impact can be high.

One kind of fraud that a person may commit that would be considered a felony is insurance fraud. As a felony, insurance fraud carries a potential prison sentence of between 2 and 10 years. Fines can also be up to $10,000. On top of that, those convicted may have to pay restitution to the victims and could be held liable for civil penalties.

How does the First Step Act affect your prison sentence?

One mistake, one wrong turn, one bad decision can lead to a world of hurt for you and your family. You may be experiencing that now if you are serving time for a federal drug offense, such as trafficking, conspiracy or felony possession. Many federal crimes carry lengthy mandatory sentences, and you may be a long way from the release that will reunite you with beloved family members.

Fortunately, the U.S. government is re-evaluating the policy of mandatory minimum sentences for many non-violent crimes, particularly drug-related offenses. Beginning with the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, lawmakers have been studying the effects of mandatory sentencing, and federal agencies have developed programs to accelerate rehabilitation and achieve early release for qualifying inmates. Under the recently passed First Step Act, you may be eligible for such a program.

Get help with your federal crime case

Federal crimes, or crimes that specifically violate the laws of the federal government, are among the worst. They are investigated by federal law enforcement, and the government itself prosecutes the case.

As someone who is facing federal charges, you need to be aware that the power of your opponent can't be overstated. The government is a major entity, and you are a single person. That doesn't mean you can't win your case, but it does mean that you need to be focused and prepared to do what you have to do to fight the charges and reduce the penalties you face.

Understand fraud and why you need a defense

White collar crime is a term that was coined in 1939 and refers to fraud committed by government and business professionals. Fraud doesn't usually involve violence or threats; instead, the motivation to commit fraud is purely financial. Fraud can be used to gain money, avoid losing money or to give a business an advantage.

While it might seem like fraud is relatively harmless, fraud is not without victims. Depending on the case, fraudulent activities could strip a family of their life savings or destroy a company from the inside out.

Bribery: A quick way to face federal charges

If you are convicted of a federal fraud, you could face serious penalties such as high fines and time in prison. Fraud is normally a financial crime, so the financial implications of getting caught committing fraud can be extreme.

One form of financial fraud is bribery. If you're accepting an item of value or money in exchange for influence in the government, you could be accused of fraud and face federal charges. Bribery is always used to influence or alter the actions of those in power. It's generally seen as an act that leads to political and public corruption.

43 convicted on drug-trafficking charges in Georgia

Federal crimes can quickly lead to harsh penalties, and convictions often come with imprisonment. Take for example a case reported by the U.S. Department of Justice. They announced that 43 people who were defendants in a firearms and drug-trafficking investigation have been charged and convicted of those crimes.

The 83-count indictment led to the defendants entering guilty pleas. Many faced prison, including a 22-year-old man who was sentenced to 210 months in prison and another five years of supervised release. The defendants primarily ranged in age from 22 to 54. Some were allegedly associates of Ghost Face Gangsters.

What happens if you refuse a police search?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure. In most cases, you have the right to refuse a police search and doing so may be wise. If the police ask for permission to search your person, car, or property, you can say no.

If you do have any illegal substance in your possession you will want to refuse a search (when possible) to prevent the police from finding it. Even if you do not have anything to hide, refusing a search may be in your best interest.

Deputy accused of planting drugs in victims' vehicles

In national news, a Florida deputy has been accused of planting drugs in vehicles, then arresting people on made-up drug charges moments later. You might wonder why this is of any importance to you in Georgia but being so close to Florida, there's a possibility that you've traveled there or been caught up in this unusual circumstance.

The deputy was arrested after a year-long investigation. The arrest warrant detailed how he would pull over drivers for minor offenses before stating that he smelled marijuana. Then, he'd search the vehicle and plant drugs inside. He often failed to use his body camera in direct violation of department policy.

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