If you are currently under investigation for a white collar crime, it is important to seek legal counsel from a skilled criminal defense attorney—even if you haven’t been arrested yet. A conviction can result in serious state and potentially federal penalties, punishable by years in a federal prison or exorbitant fines. Furthermore, having a criminal record can cause substantial damage to your professional reputation and personal life.
But like any other area of criminal law, there are several defenses available to those who are facing white-collar crime accusations. However, you must remember that every situation is different.
The following are the most common defenses for white collar crimes:
- Weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument – When it comes to white collar crimes, there is often a significant amount of evidence and financial documents. A lawyer might be able to disprove simple errors or poke holes in the prosecutor’s argument.
- Lack of intent – A person did not have the intention to commit the crime or the activity which was executed by the defendant was not intentionally done for financial or personal gain. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant intended to commit a crime, then the charges may be dropped.
- Lack of knowledge – If multiple parties and entities were involved in the crime, a defendant may be unaware that the unlawful activity was taking place. The defendant must demonstrate that they did not know (or have the capacity to know) that they were participating in a crime in order to prove a lack of knowledge.
- Plaintiffs or victims are also guilty – If the case includes evidence that the plaintiffs or victims also engaged in criminal activity, they may not be able to seek restitution and your charges may be dropped.
- Coercion – The defendant was coerced or forced by another person or multiple parties to forge a document or commit a criminal offense.
- Entrapment – Similar to coercion, entrapment occurs when the police or undercover law enforcement forces the defendant or uses intimidating tactics against them, forcing the defendant to commit a crime.
White collar crimes are quite complex in nature and protecting your rights isn’t an easy feat. Having an experienced lawyer on your side provides you the best chance at creating a defense that will earn you a favorable outcome.