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Hi, I am trying to find if a defendant spouse sentence time be transferred to other codefendant spouse.Is there a provision/law

Portland, OR |

I am a white collar case defendant in a case where my spouse is a co-defendant but with a very minor role,but still has minor possibility to get sentenced.Is there a law/option where an attorney could have the spouse's prison term if assigned to the other spouse who is a defendant on the case.I am willing to sign or agree in front of judge etc ,if this takes that .Has this been done ever in the past and is it even possible.Please let me know if there is a way to achieve this goal

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Best Answer

The other attorneys are right - there is no way for one person to serve another person's jail or prison time. That being said, this is something you should approach your attorney about confidentially. If your attorney feels it is something that is achievable, he might be able to "show your hand" a little more and thus be able to show that you are the principal, that your spouse had little or nothing to do with it and either eliminate your spouse's charges altogether or at least negotiate a sentence that does not involve incarceration. Sometimes, though, the prosecutor will not agree that the spouse's role is so minor and can insist on incarceration.

It is something you should talk to your lawyer about sooner rather than later because early acceptance may help you improve your sentencing position if that is what you are hoping for instead of a trial defense. Best of luck to you!

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Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko


I completely agree.


If you are asking if you can serve the jail/prison time that your wife gets sentenced to the answer is no. Your lawyers could potentially work out a deal with the government that entails you doing all the jail, however, once she is sentenced you can not perform her sentence for her.

Best of luck,

Jeff Siefman
Siefman & Pond



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It is possible to negotiate arrangements by which one spouse can accept punishment that would ordinarily go to the other spouse, especially when one is more culpable than the other. I have been a party to such an arrangement, on behalf of a client who felt that he was more guilty than his wife, and was willing to accept the blame. Of course, an arrangement like this requires both individuals to be represented by their own attorney, and it also requires the approval of prosecutor and judge.


The judge has discretion in sentencing, but you cannot contract away her culpability in a side deal with the prosecutor or judge. You certainly can try to roll over on your spouse under a 5K1.1 substantial assistance agreement - reducing your time while increasing hers. The other way around is impossible. There is also role reduction and mitigation, claiming she held a smaller role than you did - decreasing her time. Talk to your attorney who has all the facts. Take Care!

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