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What You Need to Know if You Have Been Accused of Committing White Collar Crime

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White collar crimes are usually non-violent and often pertain to business or financial matters. Examples of white collar crime include forgery, fraud, and embezzlement. Some people are of the belief that white collar crime is victimless because there are no physical injuries, but in truth, these crimes can destroy a victim’s life. And because of that the penalties if convicted of a white collar crime are steep. If you have been accused of committing a white collar crime, you must hire an experienced attorney to help you with your criminal defense.

Often, cases against white collar criminals take years to build. Law enforcement and the prosecution spend long periods of time gathering information and attempting to create an “air-tight” case. It can help to understand their efforts before proceeding with your defense.

What Constitutes Guilt in White Collar Crime?

To convict you of a white collar crime, the prosecution must not only prove you broke the law, they must also prove it was done intentionally and willfully. In many cases, a guilty verdict in a white collar case hinges on mens rea, which is Latin for “guilty mind.” There is a range of ways in which to prove mens rea, so do not assume that if you did not enter into a situation with the intention of committing a crime, you will be found innocent.

Keep in mind, too, the crime did not need to be successfully completed for you to be found guilty. For instance, if you intended to embezzle money and had a plan in place, but were stopped prior to using any money, you can still be found guilty.

White Collar Criminal Defense

There are several ways to defend against white collar criminal accusations and to protect your freedom you must work with an attorney that is able to build a strong case. The stronger the defense your legal team builds the more likely you are to receive a reduced sentence or have the charges dropped completely.

There are several common defenses in a white collar defense, two of which are used more frequently than others. Entrapment, argues law enforcement coerced you into committing the crime and asserts you did not intend to commit a crime and would not have done so if it were not for the interference of law enforcement or government officials.

Another common defense in white collar cases is absence of intent. This asserts that yes, a crime was committed, but the defendant had no idea he or she was breaking a law. Basically, you are pleading ignorance. Other common white collar defenses include incapacity, duress, and intoxication. In each case, the defendant admits he or she committed a crime, but circumstances beyond his or her control caused the behavior.

White collar criminal accusations must be taken seriously. If you fail to build a strong defense when accused of a white collar crime, you risk your future and your freedom. If you have been contacted concerning an investigation into a white collar crime or charges have been filed, contact the experienced legal team at Miller and Steiert, P.C.

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