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5 Tips For Forming An Aggressive Defense Strategy After Being Charged With A White Collar Crime

Law Articles

Tax evasion, embezzlement, insider trading - these are all examples of what criminal defense lawyers call white collar crime. While you might think that it's easier to win cases involving these kinds of crimes because there aren't any clear victims to win the jury's heart, the vast majority of successful defenses still end in plea-bargains and reduced sentences. Get the best chance of either proving your innocence or limiting your punishment by using these five strategy-building tips while formulating your defense.

Stay Out of Court

The best possible way to handle the accusations of a white collar crime is to prevent the formal charges from ever being placed. While most tax and fraud investigators will start their work in secret so you can't hide evidence, you're still likely to notice you're under new scrutiny. Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as you suspect a problem and they may be able to put a stop to the investigation before you ever see a subpoena or court hearing date. It only takes one mistake on the investigator's part to throw the whole case out on a technicality.

Limit Data Access

Even if your lawyer can't put a stop to the initial investigation into your business or personal life, they can challenge the amount of access any investigator gets. Legal methods of limiting access to sensitive documents and information include

  • Challenging the legality of subpoenas for requesting pre-trial information without notifying the defendant and other important parties.
  • Forcing the investigator or prosecutor to issue an arrest and formally file charges before requesting further information.
  • Finding issues with subpoenas and search warrants issued in violation of current legal requirements.
  • Invoking your Constitutional rights to privacy and to avoid self-incrimination.

Consider the Statutes

New laws are always being written to change the legality of business dealings after landmark cases close, but this often leads to a misapplication of the law in white collar crime cases. For example, the prosecutor may try to use a law created after a big energy business goes under to press charges against a fishing company with a completely different set of business procedures. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can research the context of the statute in question and successfully argue that it's misapplied to your case. You can have the charges dismissed without ever worrying about proving your innocence and disputing the claims.

Tailor the Focus

Sometimes it's better to face charges for a crime that sounds worse but comes with a smaller penalty. Your lawyer can push the courts to pay attention to a charge of involuntary manslaughter or criminal neglect instead of fraud if the social crime is easier to plea bargain for as well. Since monetary crimes often carry prison terms that aren't proportionate to the charges, taking a plea on an alternative charge could cut your time served in half or more. You may also qualify for parole options that aren't available to people charged by the federal government instead of the state. 

Build a Story

Finally, remember that all criminal defense cases are based on a narrative. Controlling the story puts the burden on the prosecutor to counter your version of events, which is difficult if there's no hard evidence and only witnesses to build with. Deep investigation of the physical documents, personal emails, and financial records can help you discover gaps in the official story you can fill in to show that the charges leveled against you are false.

Your changes for successfully navigating a white collar crime accusation go up substantially if you start the process early. Invest in professional guidance and help anytime you think an investigation is pending to stay on top of your side of the story.


29 September 2015