Restitution and Criminal Punishment in Texas: How Do They Work?
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY EXPLAINS RESTITUTION FOR CRIMINAL LAW CASES
Many crimes carry financial losses. Victims are often the ones forced to endure these financial losses, including the loss of personal property, medical costs after an assault, or lost income. Under the Mandatory Restitution Act of 1996, the courts can determine whether restitution is warranted, and the amount of restitution the criminal defendant must pay to the victim or the victim’s family in criminal law in Texas.
WHAT DOES RESTITUTION CONSIST OF?
Restitution in the criminal justice system refers to the funds that the defendant must pay to the victim for any financial harm caused by their actions. The court has the discretion and authority to force a defendant to pay restitution as part of his or her criminal punishment under criminal law. Some crimes carry a mandatory restitution, but this depends on the state. The high courts have backed the decision to order defendants to pay restitution. In fact, a case in 2010, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state correctly ordered restitution, proves such in criminal law.
Usually, violent felony offenses include restitution, but other cases can involve restitution if there are severe financial losses. Restitution might cover the out-of-pocket costs for the victim under criminal law, including:
Insurance deductibles and copays
Costs related to the criminal law case (e.g., travel, child care, etc.)
Lost or damaged property
Restitution is different from personal injury compensation. A victim will not receive pain and suffering or any form of compensation for his or her emotional distress. Instead, these damages only apply to what the victim physically paid for; usually, a receipt or bill is necessary to show the courts that the amounts are justified under criminal law in Texas.
WILL RESTITUTION BE ORDERED IN MY CRIMINAL LAW CASE?
It is hard to predict what the courts will do, but restitution is more likely in two situations:
The victim has substantial proof of financial losses. If the victim has evidence of financial losses, and he or she can justify every loss claimed, the courts might order restitution to recover those costs.
A violent crime has occurred, and the request for restitution ordered. Sometimes, the courts wait for the prosecution to issue a request for restitution. Other times, the courts offer mandatory restitution in extremely violent cases. For example, the brutal beating of a victim could result in restitution automatically – regardless of whether the prosecution submits a request under criminal law.
FULL VERSUS PARTIAL RESTITUTION
When restitution is ordered, the courts look at the defendant’s ability to pay. Obviously, if the accused has no way to pay the losses, it is hard to force them to do so. So, the court might reduce the amount until the offender can pay in full. Sometimes, the courts will still issue restitution in full but set monthly payments so the offender can pay off the balance in a specific amount of time under criminal law.
You should note that, if you are on probation or parole and have a restitution payment schedule, missing a payment could result in a revocation of your probation or parole. Typically, timely payments are part of your release conditions in criminal law.
CONSULT WITH A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY ABOUT POSSIBLE RESTITUTION
Restitution is ordered upon conviction, and is part of your criminal punishment. Therefore, you may have jail time and other penalties in addition to restitution. To avoid these harsh penalties, speak with a criminal defense attorney.
Are Ponzi Schemes Illegal?
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS DEFENDING WHITE COLLAR CRIME CHARGES
Criminal law made headlines a few years ago when the Vaughan Ponzi scheme was revealed. The plan resulted in millions of settlements for restitution and 278 victims of the real estate scheme. Vaughn received 12 years in prison for his scam, and while his sentence occurred years ago, the fallout is still being handled in the state in criminal law.
Ponzi schemes are widely misunderstood. Some refer to them as pyramid scams, while others consider any investment-like strategy a “Ponzi” scheme.
However, it is important to know the legal differences and what constitutes a Ponzi scheme. After all, a real Ponzi scheme is illegal. But, it is not a state crime. Instead, you are more likely to face federal charges if you were involved in a Ponzi scheme knowingly in criminal law.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A PONZI SCHEME?
A Ponzi scheme is an illegal business where new investors fund payments to earlier investors. It features a trickle-down effect like other businesses, but there are fundamental differences with a Ponzi scheme to note.
New Money Funds Old Money – Ponzi schemes do not have real investments or real income. Instead, they use the money of new investors to pay old investors. However, the funds are never invested themselves. These schemes require constant investments from new participants to thrive. Once the new investors run out, the system collapses.
Offer Little or No Risk Investments – Ponzi schemes typically say there are little to no risk for investing. However, these require high investment amounts and promise outrageous returns that are improbable in even the best markets in criminal law.
Consistent Returns – All investments have odd returns, and they fluctuate with the market. A Ponzi scheme offers their investors consistently high-value and positive returns, regardless of the market, because they are not investing in the real market. Instead, they only take the investments of new participants and pay the old in criminal law.
Not Registered with the SEC – Companies that encourage new investors must be registered with the SEC and state regulatory agencies. A Ponzi scheme is illegal; therefore, it is not registered with the SEC or any governing agency. Most of these businesses have no valid license to operate either in criminal law.
ARE PYRAMID AND PONZI SCHEMES THE SAME?
No. While they are closely related, these two are different in the ways they require payments and how the structure of the scheme works. They both trickle down funds from the top of the investor chain to the bottom but are slightly different.
Note, a multi-level marketing program is not a pyramid scheme or Ponzi scheme. While they act similar, these are typically legitimate. However, there are multi-level marketing frauds out there which are pyramid schemes and not real businesses in criminal law.
BE CAREFUL ABOUT STARTING AN MLM ILLEGALLY
If you plan to start a multi-level marketing program (MLM), you must avoid the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme or pyramid scheme. Certain actions you take could constitute illegal acts, and you could face state or federal level charges in criminal law.
Some methods to avoid include:
Promising easy money, passive income, or high returns regardless of market conditions.
Not offering a real product or service with the investment.
Not documenting revenue from retail sales.
Requiring buy-in to participate. While you can buy products to resell, buying into the company specifically borders on a pyramid scheme and criminal law.
Requiring your investors and participants to recruit more than sell products or services.
We handle white collar crimes and state or federal level offenses. If you have been arrested for a pyramid scheme or another white-collar crime act, speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys today in criminal law.
When Does Possession Become an Intent to Sell?
CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS FIGHTING INTENT TO SELL CHARGES IN COURTS
Sometimes, possession is just possession. There are other instances where the prosecution might turn possession charges into an intent to sell or distribute charge. In this scenario, you are facing more than a misdemeanor. In fact, you are now facing punishments like drug trafficking. You could face a felony, massive financial penalties, and long-term repercussions – all for carrying too much of a controlled substance in criminal law.
Many people hold misconceptions about what constitutes intent to sell versus possession. If you are arrested for possession of any kind, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney to ensure that an intent to distribute is not attached to your crime in criminal law.
THE TYPE OF DRUG AND THE CDS
The Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) is a federal list of drugs and associated penalties. The USA has five schedules to their CDS. Where you land on the schedules can also determine the minimum amount you are carrying to receive an intent to sell charge, in addition to possession. Schedule I are the most dangerous drugs because they have the highest rates of abuse and addiction. Regardless of which schedule you possess, it is illegal to make, sell, or possess any CDS-category substance in criminal law.
THE AMOUNT OF CDS DRUGS YOU ARE CAUGHT WITH MATTERS, TOO
When you are arrested, officers take all CDS substances as evidence. When you are caught with a large volume of a CDS, you might face drug trafficking or intent to distribute charges. However, the term “large size” is not always clear. When it comes to marijuana, carrying one ounce or less is considered personal use. Officers do not expect that someone with one or fewer ounces is distributing. However, if you were caught with eight ounces or more, you most likely will face a felony and drug trafficking charges in criminal law.
You are guilty of trafficking if you manufactured a controlled substances from Schedules I through V, or if you distributed, sold, or bartered these substances. Possession with intent to distribute applies to anyone with a controlled substance, including salts, isomers, and salts of isomers in criminal law.
THE PENALTIES FOR TRAFFICKING/INTENT TO DELIVER
If you are convicted of possession with intent to distribute, your charges could span dramatically depending on the amount and the type of substance you are caught with. Possession of marijuana is a felony that can involve up to 18 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,0000 in criminal law.
YOU HAVE CRIMINAL DEFENSE OPTIONS
Whether you intended to distribute or use your substances for personal use, you have defense options. A criminal defense attorney can argue that the substance was authorized (such as a prescription), disprove the prosecution’s case about distribution intent, and more in criminal law
Exploring the Common White-Collar Crimes in the United States
EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE FOR WHITE COLLAR CRIMES
White collar crimes are committed throughout the USA annually.
They are also massively underreported in most states. White collar crimes are often thought of as “innocent” crimes, but they are no such thing. Often these crimes leave people financially devastated. That is why the punishments for white collar crimes are much harsher than defendants realize.
WHERE DID WHITE COLLAR CRIMES COME FROM?
White collar crime is a term coined in 1939. It was a crime initially committed by a respected person of society that had a high regard in their occupation.
Today, white collar crimes are broad and take over any crime that is done for financial gain. They could be commercial but are often done by government officials, business people, and professionals. White collar refers to the area of professionals that person has, such as wearing a suit or business attire. Today, white collar crimes are not even in person. Most are done over the Internet.
THE MOST COMMON WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES
White collar crimes are a comprehensive category. However, some types of white collar crimes are more often committed in the United States than others. These include:
Insurance Fraud – Insurance fraud can include automobile insurance, but also medical insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies. Filing false claims or amounts on the claims can also constitute insurance fraud.
Insider Trading and Stock Crimes – Stock market and financial crimes, like securities fraud, insider trading, hedge fund fraud, and manipulation are all crimes.
Computer Fraud – Computer fraud includes wire fraud, and sometimes adds mail fraud.
Identity Theft – Identity theft involves taking another person’s identity for financial gain. Such as taking loans or credit cards out in their name.
Bribery – Bribing a person requires money in return for an act or omission.
Tax Evasion – It is a crime to avoid paying taxes to the state or federal government purposely. If you purposely avoid paying taxes or you move assets and hide funds to avoid taxes, then you are committing tax evasion.
Embezzlement – Another common type of white collar crime is embezzlement. Embezzlement is the act of stealing funds from a trusted position, such as a CEO stealing money from their company or a broker stealing from his or her clients.
THE TRUE EFFECT OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME
White collar crime is not victimless. Instead, it affects businesses and the victims for years. A person could have their entire life savings gone in a moment. Moreover, the widespread tactics used often affect hundreds of people. Businesses might have to file for bankruptcy because of a criminal act, and the toll of these crimes for the United States averages $3 billion per year.
CHARGED WITH A WHITE-COLLAR CRIME? YOU MUST CALL AN ATTORNEY
White collar crimes carry harsh punishments and could constitute a felony charge. To avoid the penalties of the federal government, you must contact an attorney with experience in these types of cases.