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Explanations and Definitions for Arrested Scam Victims: Terms & phrases used by law enforcement and criminal defense attorneys.

The information on the pages in this section will help you understand what is happening with your case, what to expect, different phrases you will hear, and more.

While not a complete run-down of the entire Justice System, after reading this section you will have a much better understanding of what is happening to you now, and what will happen to you as you go along.


Important notice for arrested fraud victims and their attorneys:

Terms and processes are not the same in all countries.  The Explanations & Definitions are generic to the US, Canada, and countries whose Justice System is based in whole or in part on British Law.  Specifics differ from state to state to territory, Province to Province, and country to country.

Please review this section with your Criminal Defense Attorney / Public Defender so that he or she can clarify any questions you may have and explain what differences, if any, exist between the Explanations & Definitions in this section and those local to you.


Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a lesser charge, but a charge nonetheless.  The Attorney for the Prosecution will ask you to plead to a misdemeanor because he realizes he may be unable to get a conviction for the charges listed on your indictment, or because he is under pressure to obtain a charge regardless of your situation.


Be very careful about the conditions of the misdemeanor.  You may be asked to plead to a Class A, Class B, or Class C misdemeanor (depending on the terminology in your country, province, or state), and each class carries different conditions, consequences, and affects your life in a different manner.


If, due to certain acts you committed before, during, or after you handled money acquired as part of the crime, your best option is to plead to a misdemeanor, be very certain you understand the conditions and consequences of the misdemeanor and how it will affect your life.


In most cases, a misdemeanor does not mean you cannot get a job and resume your life as it was before the arrest except for the conditions imposed by the misdemeanor, such as reporting to a Probation Officer.  See Probation vs. Parole.


Pattern of behavior: Some victims of Internet counterfeit draft schemes have received more than one check or money order and have attempted to cash or deposit them in more than one place. 

In the eyes of the arresting officer, this demonstrates a "pattern of [criminal] behavior" and when arrested, the activity at prior establishments is taken into account, as well as the reason for any priors you may have on your record.


Evidence of this nature is definitely not good, but there are ways this can be addressed and we will work with your attorney to the best of our ability to help him properly present the situation to the Prosecution. 


Person of interest: A person of interest is usually a veiled term for a suspect or target, but it can also be a reference to someone who was the witness to a crime.  If you are described as a person of interest and you have even a distant involvement and knowledge of a crime, it's safe to assume you are being regarded as a suspect until determined otherwise in a court of law or by the Prosecution.


Pleas, accepting a plea:  Be prepared to be asked to plead to a misdemeanor although we consider such a plea to be a last resort.


The offer of a plea to a misdemeanor may occur when the Prosecution decides not to waste the Court's time and proposes to your defense attorney that you take the offer of a lesser charge than whatever is stated on your indictment.  A plea bargain is the negotiation of the conditions of the lesser plea - conditions of probation, length of probation, time served, and so forth depending on the local court's guideline allowance under the law for the misdemeanor and what the Prosecution will agree to.


However, please understand that the offer of a plea can also arise when the Prosecution doesn't really have a viable case but is under pressure to come away with something other than a dismissal. 


A misdemeanor is not a felony charge.  While in some cases a misdemeanor can lead to no more than 1 year of jail time, in your case you would most likely be looking at a period of probation.  See Misdemeanor


Regardless, if you accept a plea you are admitting guilt to a crime; you need to weigh your options very carefully and make a serious determination as to whether you want to proceed with a jury trial.  It is your Constitutional right to have a trial but may or may not be a good choice for your personal situation.


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We are not attorneys and don't pretend to be.  In our experience, the information and guidance offered on this site have proven to be effective; however, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney.

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