Most people know that if they have been charged with a violent crime, a drug crime, or what they consider to be a serious felony offense, hiring a criminal defense attorney is imperative. What if you have been charged with what people refer to as a “white collar” crime? Do you still need a criminal attorney? The simple answer to that question is “yes.” In order to understand why you need a criminal lawyer if you have been charged with a white collar crime it helps to gain a better understanding of what a white collar crime is and the potential penalties if you are convicted of one.
What Is a White Collar Crime?
Although the term “white collar crime” is used on a regular basis is the U.S. legal system by everyone involved – even law enforcement officers and prosecutors — it is actually an official legal term. The term “white collar crime” was first defined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”. Today, we generally consider white collar crimes to be criminal offenses that are non-violent and that are financially motivated. Examples of criminal offenses that we generally consider to be “white collar crimes” include:
- Computer crimes
- Insider trading
- Copyright infringement
- Money laundering
- Cyber crimes
- Identity theft
Are White Collar Crimes “Serious” Crimes?
Do not make the mistake that many people make of thinking either the state or federal criminal justice systems are soft on white collar crimes. Although not violent crimes, white collar crimes can certainly be “serious” crimes that come with serious penalties if you are convicted of one. In fact, you can be sentenced to the same lengthy prison term for a white collar crime that someone might receive for a violent crime. Take, for example, the crime of embezzlement which is a common federal crime. If you are convicted of embezzlement in federal court, you could face a period of incarceration in a federal prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. In Nebraska, many theft offenses can be charged at the felony level with potential punishments that include a lengthy term of imprisonment.
The Non-Judicial Consequences of a Conviction for a White Collar Crime
For many people, the non-judicial consequences of a conviction for a white collar criminal offense are just as troubling as the judicial penalties. White collar crimes often include theft of one sort or another. A theft conviction, in today’s society, can be extremely damaging to your career. Almost all employers these days, even fast-food restaurants, run a background check on potential hires. A conviction for theft, or a theft related crime, will almost surely prevent you from being hired because most employees automatically disqualify an applicant with a history of theft. For this reason, even a misdemeanor white collar crime conviction can cause serious repercussions for you and your future.
Do You Need a Criminal Lawyer If You Have Been Charged with a White Crime?
If you have been charged with a white collar crime it is in your best interest to take the matter seriously. The best thing you can do for you, your family, and your future is to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal lawyer. The worst mistake you can make is to fail to take your situation seriously. There are a number of defense strategies that might work in your case. Only an experienced attorney can evaluate the unique facts and circumstances of your case and advise you what strategy might work in your case.
If you have been charged with a “white collar” criminal offense in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.