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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Iowa. Sister is charged with 75 yrs. This will be 2nd conviction

Customer Question

Iowa. Sister is charged with 75 yrs. This will be 2nd conviction for intent to distribute meth. She is also charged with tax stamp as well as conspiracy. This will be her 3rd Felony w/a possession for meth, too. She's screwed and we know it (her own fault). Is it true with a conspiracy conviction you can't get parole for 10yrs?

My main questions are about the fines. I understand on a 2nd offense they can DOUBLE it and it is $5K-100K for a first. Also, she had about a pound and there is a $250 per gram at 454 grams fine - $112K. Is that in addition to the other fines, or inclusive? I am trying to get a ball park idea as to how much the fines are going to be so the family can prepare financially before she is sentenced. I know what the stautes say (I'm a legal asst.) and can appreciate you do not know her case and circumstances, the Judge, etc. I just want to have a general idea how much the total fines are in a typical felony drug case like this. Just a ballpark dollar amount, guesstimate or two on how these things usually transpire. (Note: she did not cooperate and name her supplier and I know Courts do not look favorably on that or if that will have anything to do with how she is fined. )

I may also have questions about payment plans, how her age (67) affects how the Court may look at her ability to pay, etc. How quickly would the state put a lien on her house or come after some very valuable assets in side the home, etc.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

The fines for the special class B felony of up to $100,000 in Iowa are going to be separate for the fines and penalties if she was convicted of the tax stamp violation as well. The fines of up to $250 per gram are in addition to the special class B felony fines as it is for the Tax evasion charge you said she was additionally convicted on in addition to the distribution charge pursuant to Iowa Code SEC. 43. 453B.7 TAX IMPOSED - RATE OF TAX.

As far as payment plans, this is up to the sentencing court and also the department of revenue that has a right to collect the tax. They will seek to begin to try to impose liens close to 30 days after her conviction and imposition of sentence on her conviction. They will put a lien on any property she owns and can seek to seize any personal property to satisfy the tax lien which is separate from the criminal fine, which generally can be waived or have some type of payment plan or garnishment imposed by the court.



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Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 91784
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Law Educator, Esq. and 11 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

To make sure I understand in layman's terms: AClass B is $5K - 100K. I thought I understood they could be doubled on a 2nd conviction, is that true? But those can be waived or a payment plan established? Correct?


 


It's the tax evasion that will result in a lien on the house being imposed within 30 days . She also only has 20% equity in the house and I was told that Courts tend to work w/mortgage companies but that years later when there is more equity they could force a sale. Is that correct? I know w/a pound of meth at $250 a gram is about $112K, too, and is that mandated or the amount up to the Judge and can't be waived. Is that what will evoke liens and seizure of personal property.?


 


The Personal property? She has extensive and very valuable antique collections, etc. $100K or more of things. It is not an ordinary house inside. How soon would they come in and start to seize everything? Will they leave her with anything? Someone told me they would leave her with $20K of possessions. (Serves her right; it was all bought with drug money.)


 


As far as payment plans, she is 67 with only $1600/m in Social Security (stops while in jail). I would think the Court would not think she has the income/earning ability to make a dent with a payment plan and proceed with seizures of personal property.. Is that your best guess also? We are trying to convince her to sell now to have the money to pay the fines, because she is not going to get top dollar if they come in and just take it.


 


I know her attorney is concentrating on the criminal charges right now. At what point will he be advising her how to prepare for the fines? She only has 3 months until Court (will be convicted) . Also, again, with a conspiracy charge is it true 10 yrs. before parole?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply and clarification.

Iowa Code § 124.411(1)--If previously convicted of any state or federal drug statute, and subsequently convicted under Chapter 124, that person may be imprisoned for a period not to exceed 3 times the term otherwise authorized, or that person may be fined not more than 3 times the amount otherwise authorized, or both. The enhancement may be less than the triple amount and it also multiplies any other enhancements (such as the firearm enhancement) that may be imposed. See: State v. Rodgers, 560 N.W.2d 585 (Iowa 1997).

Thus, her penalty could be up to $300,000 actually, but it is generally to the discretion of the court and they do not have to give her that multiple fine or jail term. The minimum sentence she must serve to be eligible for parole under Iowa law is 1/3 of the sentence she receives.

The court can waive those fines and/or can make the payments begin upon release from prison and this is for her attorney to negotiate.

The tax charge is completely separate and that fine is on top of the fine for the distribution second offense. The fines are something her attorney has to negotiate now as part of her criminal sentence based on her inability to work when she is released and most times when someone is of her age they will seek to seize her property that she owns as payment of the fine because they know when she leaves prison she will not be able to find employment to make any fine payments.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry to be a pain. But does that mean they will come inside the house w/a Court order and start seizing personal property within 30 days the same way they would put a lien on the house within 30 days. We cannot get through to her that in order to get top dollar for some of these collectibles she needs to act fast to sell. Also, again is there any amount exempt such as being allowed to keep $20K of personal possessions?


 


She is asking my husband and I rent the house to protect her things inside it and we think it is a vain effort.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, I am afraid that they will come to the house to start to look for property they can seize and will look for property she tried to give away in preparation. They will generally wait for AFTER 30 days from sentencing, because that is the time she has to appeal any conviction. There is no exemption from seizure for criminal or tax seizures I am afraid, unlike other creditors. Even if you rent the house or take her things, they will take them if they can prove they are her things I am afraid.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

That's what we thought, and no we are not going to participate in her trying to hide assets. We want nothing to do with those things bought with drug monies. She is expecting me to sell MY things and move in there because I would not have room for my things and her things are going to be taken anyway. She is deluded and an addict. My only concern as her sister is she will be a little old lady with a lot of health problems when she comes out and I was hoping if she would be allowed to legally retain at least $20K in assets so it would help the family find a place for her when she comes out. Someone is filling her head that she will get 90 days shock jail. Yeah right on a 2nd conviction, 3rd Felony with Conspiracy to boot. She did not cooperate and tell them where the meth lab is either and thinks just doing 30 days outpatient rehab is going to sway the Judge. This is my last question: What to do think and advise us to do about renting the house? Her neighborhood assoc. already has said she cannot live at the property anymore with another conviction either. Can't the State come in later and force a sale when there is more equity and we'd be put out? Won't her attorney tell her about the 30days to put a lien on the house and seize property BEFORE she goes to Court?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

You are making a wise choice to stay clear of this matter completely. Unfortunately, at her age, if the court imposes any jail sentence and she has to serve at least 1/3, it may end up she may not return from prison, unfortunately, and that is a reality you may need to deal with. It is not likely her rehab is going to convince a judge, especially without any cooperation.

Her attorney will not know what the court is going to do for certain until sentencing and no seizure would occur before her sentencing. Generally after sentencing, they will file a petition for asset forfeiture based on them being proceeds of illegal activity and it is at that time they will seek to seize all of her property or they could simply place a lien and seek to sell once there is equity in the property. As far as renting you the property, she can do so, but if they seize the house for the taxes or the fines and sell the house, I am afraid you will have to move out of the property, so it is best to steer clear of this one altogether. Sadly, this is not anything you need to be involved in.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 91784
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Law Educator, Esq. and 11 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Okay, again. I am an editor for legal codes as well the public information officer for a large Texas State agency but I do not have experience in criminal law (oil and gas and State real estate). Can you tell me how to go about submitting a request to find out what was seized in the recent raid, ie. how many grams of meth? Or would that be exempt from disclosure until the case disposed?. Also, her past conviction for intent to distribute, I would like to know the amount seized then, too, and the disposition of the case, fines, probation terms etc. If that case is already disposed, could I find out what the Court imposed?


 


You have been such a Big Help already and worth every penny. And, no, we will not get involved in her house and asset protection efforts. Thanks for gently putting it to me she may die in prison. With her current health problems, anything over 5yrs. is really a death sentence and I already knew that. Her attorney has told her he may be able to get it reduced to 15yrs. and she serve 5yrs. so we are trying to have an idea how to take care of an elderly con when/IF she comes out. Any idea why he would have told her 90 days shock was a possibilty??!!!

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

The return on the search warrant should be in the court file and also should have been given to her attorney as part of pretrial discovery. You would need someone to go into the clerks office to look in the court file in person to find the return on the warrant which lists all items seized. The amount of meth seized should also be in the court file and listed on the bill of information or indictment.

You can also get the court file on her prior conviction from the court clerk's file as well.

I wish I knew why someone would tell her the 90 day shock would be available unless they were not aware of her prior conviction for intent to distribute.

Once she gets out, this does become a problem as if she is on parole her benefit entitlements are severely limited, so this will become a big burden on your family I am sorry to say if she needs healthcare coverage.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 91784
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Law Educator, Esq. and 11 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The last I spoke to her she said her attorney had requested but not received any pretrial discovery yet. I'm in Texas so can't get to a Des Moines courthouse. I was under the impression her lawyer told her the 90 days was a possibility but I really don't know. I can't get anyone to go to the clerks office for me either as I am alienated for telling her the TRUTH. I know her Social Security stops while inside but resumes when she get's out and yes, I already researched and know she will have little in the way of other benefit entitlements. I know her attorney won't know what is imposed until sentencing but I would think he would give her advice on how to prepare herself financially for a prison term.


 


I am working on my paralegal now with a 3.8GPA and in the honors program.The attorneys I work for want me to go all the way through law school. Sometimes it really sucks to be legally astute though. All we are willing to do is keep paying her $10K burial policy. Sad. I have lived 1000 miles away for 35yrs, we weren't raised together. I had no idea who she really is - a scum drug dealer. I am glad our parents are passed on. Thanks again for your sound advice. Not the typical thing I see on these boards, uh?!

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.

The issue here is you cannot contact her attorney for the information, as he has an attorney client privilege with her that she would have to waive. Thus, the only way to get the information would be going to the court or calling the clerk of court's office and hoping to get a friendly clerk who would be willing to either read you the information from the court record or fax it to you (they do not have to do so, but if you get a friendly clerk they will be helpful in this manner). Unfortunately, if the DA has not placed all of the evidence into the records yet, you have no choice but to wait for the pretrial discovery, since they do not have to disclose the information on a pending case as it is not yet public record.

You can, however, get the information on her prior conviction through the clerk and hope you get a friendly one who will fax you the information or get it to you over the phone. If not you will have to find someone there to go to the court or would have to mail a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the clerk of court and pay the fees for them to send you the information on the closed cases.

You would be surprised at what we see on these boards, so your issue is really not overly surprising to us I am sorry to say.

Sometimes it does "suck" to be legally astute, but even more frustrating is when you come to the realization that sometimes the laws just cannot help certain situations no matter how frustrating those situations are and that you have to tell this to clients. However, while our legal system is not perfect, it is certainly the best system out there by far.

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