How to Prepare a Solid Defense for a White Collar Crime

How to Prepare a Solid Defense for a White Collar Crime

White-collar crimes might sound like lesser offenses than other more serious crimes like assaults and burglaries, but it is still a criminal charge that should be taken seriously. If you’re accused of committing a white-collar crime, know that you could be potentially facing hefty stays in federal prison and other criminal penalties. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prepare a solid defense to protect yourself in case you’ve been accused of a white-collar crime. Here are some tips.

Hire An Experienced Attorney

First and foremost, you must hire an experienced attorney who has experience in defending against white-collar crimes. Unlike regular criminal defense attorneys who defend against minor misdemeanors or felonies, you’ll want a lawyer who has created defense strategies to protect both businesses and individuals in cases of white-collar crimes. Make sure your attorney has a history of minimizing charges or dismissing cases.

Try Limiting Intent

One of the aspects that can lead to a white-collar crime conviction is criminal intent. This means you intended to defraud, misrepresent information, or otherwise had an intent to commit a crime. Discuss with your lawyer ways you can limit or eliminate your intent. If you were simply negligent, such as filing your taxes wrong or using outdated software, it’s often better to be seen as incompetent than be accused of willfully committing a crime. Your lawyer might want to gather evidence of this, such as emails, internet search history, and other evidence that proves you weren’t acting with malice.

Argue Against Capacity

In addition to proving criminal intent, prosecutors often have to prove you were capable of committing a crime based on your skill level, expertise, and state of mind. For instance, if you purposefully stole money from a company, this is much worse than if you accidentally sent transfers over to another account or weren’t of sound mind due to being overworked, mentally unstable, or otherwise weren’t capable of committing a crime. Your attorney will have a strategy to help you argue against your capacity to commit a crime.

Explore Statute of Limitations

Many white-collar crimes have a fairly short statute of limitations, which is the timeframe you can be charged with a crime. For example, mail and wire fraud have a mere 5-year statute of limitations. If your lawyer can prove the last time you committed a crime falls outside of this scope, you might be able to walk away without being charged with a crime at all. However, for this to be a successful defense, you’ll need to be extremely careful with the evidence you submit to not incriminate yourself for another, more recent white-collar crime.

Argue Insanity

Mental health awareness continues to grow, and with it, a plethora of possible defenses against white-collar crimes. Today, jurors are more aware of issues like bipolar disorder, mania, and even substance use disorders that can trigger psychosis. If you have a history of a psychiatric disorder, psychosis, or another mental illness, your lawyer might be able to create a solid defense arguing insanity. This means you were mentally capable of committing a crime. While it is a bit rare for this strategy to work, it’s worth a shot if you feel you weren’t mentally competent during any part of a crime.