White collar crimes is a term that spans an array of illicit activities that involve, as the FBI states, lying, cheating, and stealing. White collar crimes typically refer to a type of crime committed by business people, entrepreneurs, public officials, and professionals through deception normally committed in a commercial setting for financial gain, as opposed to street crimes which tend to involve force and violence.
Among this overarching definition of white collar crimes are embezzlement, bribery, extortion, larceny, commercial and consumer frauds, insider trading various financial swindles such as ponzi schemes, bribery, and more.
Although white collar crimes are not physically violent, they do carry prison terms ranging from one to 30 years, significant fines, and loss of professional licenses. If you are charged with a white collar crime, or even if you think you are under investigation for such a crime, it is to your advantage to seek legal representation immediately.
Essentially, your white collar crimes attorney will work to get the charges dismissed, construct a strong defense if your case goes to trial, or negotiate a plea agreement with the goal of eliminating or reducing incarceration time.
To accomplish these goals, your attorney will take a number of steps, beginning with an initial consultation. At that meeting, your attorney will explain the applicable law and punishment, listen to your side of the situation, and ask questions about the circumstances of your alleged involvement.
Your attorney will then evaluate your position to determine if authorities have insufficient legally obtained evidence that may result in dismissal, or determine the best defense theory for your case. Your lawyer will oversee an investigation of the allegations, including police investigations, testimony of witnesses and victims, and the physical evidence against you.
It is the responsibility of the government in criminal cases to prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which can be a heavy burden depending for the prosecution. Your defense attorney will challenge the government’s case to establish a reasonable doubt, which would end your trial in acquittal.
If that cannot be accomplished, your attorney will represent you at sentencing and produce evidence to mitigate the sentence the court imposes and reduce possible fines.
White collar crime is a bit different than other crimes in that people generally know they are under investigation long before they are ever charged with a crime. If you know you are being investigated for a white collar crime you should contact an attorney immediately. Even if you have not been charged, the sooner you get an attorney on board, the better defense they will be able to mount. In some cases, hiring an attorney at the onset of an investigation may prevent charges from being filed at all. In the event that charges are filed, an attorney will be able to negotiate on your behalf in hopes of getting more lenient treatment.