Typically, first offenders who are willing to pay restitution, even if it's in monthly payments, end up getting probation. If a defendant has a criminal record, then whether the defendant gets probation depends on how bad the case is and how bad the defendant's record is. You did not offer us any info on that, so I can't speak to your situation. However, getting a good criminal defense lawyer to assist you may be quite helpful. Actually, not all welfare fraud cases that are filed are good cases. There are some technicalities the government can mess up and end up with a loser. A criminal defense lawyer can look at that angle for you, too.
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If you have never been convicted of a felony you are eligible for probation. In these circumstances I usually advise my clients to hold for a probation deal.
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My answers are intended only as general legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for a full consultation with a local experienced criminal defense attorney. For more answers based on my 19 years of experience visit my website, www.austincriminaldefenseattorney.com