How A Gambling Addiction Can Reduce Your Sentence In A Criminal Trial

Gambling addiction affects 4 to 6% of the approximately 1.6 billion people who gamble per year, and this epidemic often rears its ugly head in courtrooms around the country. Criminal offenses like embezzlement, money laundering, larceny, and similar crimes, which may be motivated by a gambling addiction, are some of the most common felonies committed in the United States. These two facts mean that a gambling addiction can be an important factor in a criminal trial that may have been motivated by such an addiction, and mentioning it as part of your defense will usually get you a reduced sentence, though it won't overturn your verdict. Here's how a gambling addiction can reduce your sentence if a link between an addiction and a crime is found by your lawyer. 

The Root Argument

While your ultimate verdict will not be affected by an admission of a gambling addiction, your sentencing can be greatly reduced when it becomes apparent that such a condition affected your ability to properly consider your actions. The argument in this case, then, is that your gambling addiction was what caused you to need money in excess of what could be attained by honest, legal means. In a way, this may sound like a type of insanity defense, but an insanity defense is used to overturn a verdict. Gambling addiction, on the other hand, can't be used to overturn a verdict. Rather, you can avoid doing jail time or community service in some cases depending on the severity of the crime or crimes and whether or not you show remorse and a desire to do better in the future. 

Alternative Outcomes

While jail time may be off the table in some cases where a gambling addiction is involved, you will still need to make some provisions with the court to prove that you are on the road to recovery and won't commit the same crime again. Some agreements that may help you achieve a lighter sentence involve showing remorse, making plans to repay unlawfully obtained money, and scheduling treatment for your gambling addiction. Probation is a common punishment in cases where a gambling addiction is a part of the defense, as are mandatory meetings with a counselor or addiction center. 

Gambling addiction can affect your life in a huge number of ways, and the American courts system agrees with this fact. In fact, there are many examples of cases where a gambling addiction was used to reduce sentencing for a crime, like for former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who was found guilty of betting on basketball games that he was officiating. In the end, being honest with yourself about a gambling addiction can get you closer to shaking your addiction, and the courts and your attorney are willing to help you with this goal by reducing your sentence in favor of rehabilitation programs and showing remorse for your crimes. 

For more information and legal assistance, talk with a professional criminal defense attorney, such as those at Bayley & Mangan Law Office.