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Dealing with duplicative and unsupported charges in criminal defense

In our last post, we began speaking about a case involving a Maryland woman was charged with multiple criminal offenses in connection with a prescription drug fraud scheme. Earlier this year, according to sources, the woman pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement, two counts of identity fraud, and four counts of obtaining prescriptions by fraud.

The charges two which the woman ultimately pleaded guilty are slightly different than those she originally faced. One can only assume there was some negotiation between the woman’s defense attorney and prosecutors in the case. The point we wanted to make, though, is that each and every criminal charge must be fully supported by the evidence, and that charges for which adequate evidence is lacking or which are duplicative should be addressed when building a solid criminal defense case.

In terms of duplicative charges, the idea is that a criminal defendant should not have face criminal penalties for charges that share the same elements. When charges are similar enough that there is essentially no difference between their elements, criminal defendants should seek to have such duplicative charges thrown out. Charges which clearly involve different elements but for which there is not enough evidence for conviction, of course, should also be thoroughly challenged during negotiations with prosecutors or at trial.

Working with an experienced attorney in any criminal case is obviously important, but especially so for those who are facing multiple charges. A skilled defense attorney can help to make sure that defendants are not going to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer when prosecutors should only be using a fist. 

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