Although there are sentencing guidelines for violations of both state and federal law, the courts have significant leeway when determining what constitutes an appropriate sentence. The penalties they deliver must be reasonable, however, and if they are not, they may be overturned. In a recent Florida opinion issued in an identity theft case, the court discussed factors weighed in determining the reasonableness of a sentence. If you are accused of a theft offense, it is important to understand the penalties you may face if you are convicted, and you should speak to a St. Petersburg theft crime defense attorney as soon as possible.
Procedural History of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant was charged with multiple counts of aggravated identity theft and having fifteen or more unauthorized access devices in violation of federal law. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of possessing unauthorized access devices under a plea agreement.
It is reported that the presentence report stated that during his arrest, the defendant destroyed multiple devices that contained evidence of his theft and that the funds he diverted included COVID unemployment benefits. The Government sought a sentence of 51 months due to the egregiousness of the defendant’s crimes, his destruction of evidence, and his prior criminal history, while the defendant argued that the court should impose a 45-month sentence. The court agreed with the Government and sentenced the defendant to 51 months in prison, after which he appealed, arguing that the sentence was unreasonable. Continue Reading ›