Thursday, May 13, 2010

Have You Been Charged with a White Collar Crime in Florida?

White-collar crimes are those “committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” That original definition by sociologist Edwin Sutherland still holds. Given that occupation affects opportunity, white collar crimes overlap corporate crime. Among them are fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, identity theft, forgery, and more.

If you are charged with a white-collar crime, your reputation is suddenly at risk as your professional and business integrity is questioned. Given the significance for your future, it is important to get the best defense you can from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What to do if you are charged—or think you might be
What you don’t know can be hurting you. When someone is under investigation for these kinds of crimes, it may be sometime before any direct communication from legal authorities is offered. If you suspect that you are being investigated for one of these or related crimes, you should immediately consult a criminal defense lawyer.
What you say or do before being charged can hurt you too. It is all too common for white collar criminal defendants to inadvertently damage their own cases by something they say or do in the early stages of an investigation.
This is why a criminal defense attorney should be consulted before any meeting with law enforcement investigators, even if it seems harmless at first glance. If you are in South Florida, you will want a Miami or Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach criminal attorney.

What an experienced attorney can do for you
What can an attorney do for you either before or after being charged with a white-collar crime? Here is what one respected Miami criminal attorney notes:
  • Deal with law enforcement on your behalf
  • Create an effective defense strategy
  • Assist you BEFORE white collar crime charges are filed
  • Make every effort to resolve your case without a trial
  • Find alternatives to serving prison time, where legally possible
An experienced attorney knows how to negotiate with the local prosecutors and can aim for the following outcomes:
  • Getting the charge(s) against you dropped
  • Arranging a plea agreement in which you plead guilty to a lesser charge and/or agree to cooperate with an ongoing investigation
  • A less harsh punishment
  • A strong, effective defense in court
What Are the Consequences?
Depending on the seriousness of the crime, if you are convicted of a crime, punishments can include probation, fines, performing public service, paying restitution, a prison sentence, and a combination of these. For example, after being charged by the Florida State Attorney General in 2006, a former Lake County car dealer was sentenced to three years in prison and forced to pay $720,000 in restitution for the theft of sales tax, followed by 12 years of probation.
It is clear that it is your best interest to hire the best representation you can get. Rely on a proven successful criminal lawyer.

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