How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help With Your White Collar Crime Charge
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White-collar charges typically involve non-violent crimes that are mostly financially motivated and based on violations of trust. Usually occurring in corporate settings, these crimes may be charged at the state or federal level—maybe even both. Though, there are some situations or instances wherein the people involved are not precisely aware that they are committing something illegal.
If you’re being accused of a white-collar crime, it would be best to hire a criminal defense attorney the first chance you get. How would they help, you might wonder? Continue reading to learn more.
What is a White Collar Crime Charge?
White-collar crimes are financial-related and non-violent crimes committed by people who have access to or control over another person’s finances. It is referred to as ‘white collar crimes’ as they usually happen in business and government-related settings. Primarily, these crimes involve concealment, deceit, or violation of trust rather than violence—as opposed to other criminal offenses.
White-collar crimes are offenses designed to achieve financial gain through deception. The Florida Statute § 775.0844 defines these crimes as those that involve deceit or fraud, conspiring to deceive or defraud, or conspiring to deprive someone of their property.
Since it’s considered a severe offense in Florida, the penalties tied to it are also harsh. Depending on the crime’s nature, the penalty can be steep if convicted. Generally, one can expect penalties like hefty fines, jail sentences, restitution, probation, and forfeiture of assets.
What Are the Common Types of White Collar Charges?
A considerably extensive range of crimes could fall under white-collar crimes. Some of the most common ones are as follows:
- Embezzlement involves withholding funds or stealing someone else’s property that you were authorized to control. It can occur when employees steal money from their employer for their gain and interest.
- Bribery occurs when a person offers, receives, or solicits something of value in exchange for influencing someone’s actions to perform a legal or public duty for them. It is a severe offense that can undermine public trust in government-related institutions.
- Fraud is when someone knowingly states or makes false statements that can cause another person to suffer a financial loss.
- Counterfeiting and forgery pertain to intentionally forging, altering, counterfeiting, or making any document with the explicit intention of defrauding someone. Crimes under this can include forging checks, drafts, bank bills, wills, notes, and promissory notes.
- Identity theft is a grave crime that involves using or taking personally identifying information of someone without their authorization for fraudulent purposes.
- Money laundering is a severe crime that consists of illegally passing obtained funds through the use of legitimate entities, like banks.
- Tax evasion involves misrepresenting or concealing one’s affairs to reduce tax liability.
- Extortion, otherwise known as blackmailing, is obtaining services, goods, and money from someone or an entity through threats and coercion.
- Credit card fraud is a type of fraud that people can commit through various means. Regardless of the way, the typical reason for committing such a crime involves obtaining unauthorized funds from an account or obtaining items without the need to pay.
- Healthcare fraud is a fraud scheme that generally involves healthcare insurance. Good examples are overbilling to make more money or billing for medical services they did not render.
How Can a Defense Lawyer Help With Your White-Collar Charge?
You must know that not all defense lawyers are capable of helping with white-collar crimes, seeing as most are handled by either the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI. Since not all are qualified, you will need to search for a lawyer with experience with these crimes.
Now, how can these lawyers help you with your case? Here’s how:
Conducting External and Internal Investigations
One of the substantial works of a lawyer handling a white-collar crime is conducting their own external and internal investigations. To build a case and strong defense, the defense attorney must conduct a thorough investigation to get a hold of every possible fact and information that can give their side a much-needed advantage.
Find Weaknesses on the Prosecutor’s Side of the Case
Federal prosecutors only sometimes take cases if they have a substantial and fair amount of evidence to build their case. Usually, they already have a strong case made to prosecute the defendant.
Though the prosecutor’s side has that advantage, it doesn’t mean that every case they take is ironclad. A defense lawyer can find and poke holes or errors in their case and disprove crucial points in their argument and evidence to have the case dismissed.
Build a Strong Defense
Suppose you’re charged with a white-collar crime. In that case, you must work with a federal criminal defense lawyer with sufficient understanding and knowledge about the defenses for these crimes and how to use them efficiently and effectively. Here are some of the common defenses that your lawyer might use:
1. Lack of Knowledge
Lack of knowledge is a common defense to use. For example, defendants usually can’t say they didn’t know they committed a crime. However, when several parties are involved, and the defendant was only part of the plan but did not know of the crime, it can prove a valid defense.
2. Lack of Intent
Lack of intent is another common defense that can be used. This means that even if you committed the crime, it was not intentional. A person might use this defense if they were unaware that what they were doing was against the law or if they believed that their actions were legal when they actually weren’t.
With entrapment, law enforcement officers use intimidation or actions of force to push the accused into committing a crime they would not have otherwise committed. This usually occurs during undercover sting operations. If the officer overreaches to the extent that they end up inducing criminal-related behavior, then entrapment is a viable defense.
The case may be dismissed or dropped if the defense can prove that other people forced the defendant to commit the offense. For example, a person tells another to perform a crime if they don’t want their family to get hurt.
Hire a Defense Attorney Today
While white-collar crimes do not involve violence, the penalties, if convicted, can be just as severe as other criminal offenses. Being charged with these crimes will undoubtedly put your job, career, personal life, and freedom under fire. To gain the best chances of beating these charges or allegations, you will need the help of a qualified lawyer.
A criminal defense lawyer can understand the stress you are experiencing and the uncertainty of not knowing your future. Contact our attorneys at Hanlon Law to ensure you gain the best possible outcome. We can help you navigate through the entire process. Additionally, they can potentially help avoid life-altering penalties.
Give us a call today so we can help defend your case.
600 Cleveland St #1100
Clearwater, FL 33755