White collar crime is all over the media, whether it’s in TV shows or in the news. However, most people aren’t completely sure what white-collar crimes are, perhaps because the term covers such a wide range of crimes. When the term was first coined, in 1939, it referred to crimes committed by high-status people in the course of their profession. Now, it’s typically any non-violent crime that results in financial gain.
What is a White Collar Crime?
Many different things count as a white-collar crime. Tax evasion, or deliberately avoiding paying taxes that you owe, is a common one. Money laundering involves trying to conceal the source of money that came from illegal activities. Securities fraud includes insider trading, theft, and Ponzi schemes. Bribery is offering or receiving money or items of value to influence someone’s legal or political actions.
A key element of white collar crime is often proving that the defendant is liable for someone else’s behavior. Sometimes, a corporation can be found liable for its employee’s actions if the employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the request of the board or CEO. In Texas, it’s more common that another employee is held liable, rather than the company as a whole.
Potential Consequences of White Collar Crime
If you are convicted of a white-collar crime, the penalties will depend on the amount of money or benefits you obtained from your crime. Some white collar crimes are considered Class A misdemeanors, and others are considered first-degree felonies. Misdemeanors could carry fines of up to $4,000 and up to a year in prison. Felonies could result in a $10,000 fine and up to 99 years of prison time.
What Your Lawyer Will Do
When accused of a white collar crime, you need a good lawyer to protect you, like the ones at The Williams Firm. There are a few different legal options that we will work with to help you stay out of jail:
- Plea bargains are when the defendant agrees to plead no contest and receives a lighter sentence or reduced charge in exchange.
- Non-trial mitigation allows you to face a lesser charge and lesser punishment.
- Dismissal of charges is the ideal result, which is when all charges are dropped as having insufficient evidence, and you get to avoid a trial entirely.
If none of those options succeed, your lawyer will fight vigorously for you in court. If you are convicted, they will work to appeal your case or reduce your sentence.
Being accused of a white collar crime is often overwhelming. Because these crimes are almost always non-violent, you might not feel like a “real” criminal. But don’t let that make you think you don’t need a real lawyer – you do, and the team at The Williams Firm is here for you. Our more than 25 years of combined legal experience, plus our dedication to giving you the best service possible, can help you fight your white collar charges in Texas. Give us a call today.