White Collar Criminal Sentencing and The Effects of Cooperation

White Collar Criminal Sentencing and The Effects of Cooperation

Sentencing for white collar crimes is a topic of controversy. Lawmakers and prosecutors complain that sentences for those convicted of white collar crimes are too lenient, and in fact judges have been criticized for giving lenient sentences for white collar crimes.

The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines establishes sentencing guidelines for the judicial branch. However, due to a 2005 Supreme Court decision, these guidelines are advisory and judges are under no obligation to impose sentences within the Federal Guidelines range.

Since judges have discretion in sentencing, and prosecutors have discretion in sentences attached to plea bargains, it is important to understand ways in which sentences may be reduced.

The Effects of Cooperation

One of the most reliable ways to receive a reduced sentence, or even no sentence at all, is to cooperate with the government. If a person charged with a white collar crime can provide information or evidence that aids in the prosecution of other criminals, they may be granted sentencing leniency. This is particularly true when a person provides substantial assistance to the government.

The government has an incentive to reward cooperation because when defendants cooperate the government is more likely to be able to successfully prosecute more serious crimes and larger criminal enterprises. Further, judges are more likely to impose lighter sentences on defendants who have cooperated and provided assistance to the government.

When Cooperation Is the Right Choice

Every case is unique and the potential benefits of cooperation are unique to each case. Of course, we are not advocating for all defendants to cooperate with law enforcement or prosecutors. As white collar criminal defense attorneys, our job is to protect the rights of our clients, and to do what it takes to get every client the best possible outcome in their case. For some of our clients, this means cooperating with the government and for others it means using other tactics to get the best possible resolution in the case.

If you are a defendant considering your option to cooperate and assist the government in the prosecution of other companies or individuals, we strongly encourage you to hire a lawyer to protect your rights and to advocate for you. If you are going to cooperate, having an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney by your side will help you get the most out of your cooperation.

As a former prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office, Ashley D. Adams understands the government’s tactics, understands the ins and outs of sentencing, and knows how to establish the best possible defense for your case.

Contact us or call now (480) 219-1366 for a consultation. Have your questions answered and obtain the peace of mind that comes from having a former Assistant U.S. Attorney on your side.


The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle state criminal cases throughout Arizona including the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Maricopa, Gilbert, Peoria, Surprise, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Avondale, Chandler, Casa Grande, Florence, Queen Creek, Deer Valley, North Pinal and Sun City as well as those living in and around Maricopa County, Pinal County, Pima County, Yuma County and Yavapai County.

The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle federal criminal cases throughout the United States, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.