updated 03/05/2014 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/05/2014 AT 7:50 PM ET
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and her husband, Joe Giudice, are set to appear in court on July 8 for sentencing. They face possible jail time and the prospect of splitting up their tight-knit family.
“Teresa’s plan is to explain to the court both how she ended up in this mess to begin with as well as how she has made a life for herself and the girls that will see them through it,” her lawyer Henry Klingeman tells PEOPLE in a statement.
The couple, parents to daughters, Gia, 13, Gabriella, 9, Milania, 8, and Audriana, 4, were indicted last year on charges that included conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud. Initially denying any wrongdoing, they entered pleas on Tuesday.
While legal experts say judges can stick to the recommended guidelines for jail time (in her case, 21- 27 months), Teresa’s lawyer says, “We have the right to ask for probation and we are going to.”
“Her hope is that the judge will weigh the wrongdoing against many wonderful accomplishments to justify a fair sentence,” Klingeman continues. “By fair, we will be asking for a sentence that punishes the wrongdoing, but allows Teresa and the girls to have an optimistic future. As for specifics, we will spend the time between now and the sentencing date gathering material that will go into a written brief to be filed with the court as well as a presentation at the sentencing hearing itself.”
Bankruptcy expert Lee M. Perlman, Esq. says the final decision is based on a complicated formula.
“The federal sentencing guidelines are going to govern specifically how the judge is going to decide here,” says Perlman. “There are two factors: the criminal history in terms of the criminal sentencing guidelines and the conduct associated with the offense. It’s typically advisory and judges are free to depart from that, but federal sentencing guidelines are complex.”