Allegations of embezzlement or financial fraud can threaten to ruin your future. A conviction, if one is obtained, may hit you with a significant amount of incarceration, financially ruinous fines and restitution, and damage to your reputation that can haunt you for the rest of your life. We don’t say that to scare you, but rather to let you know that the stakes are high and stress the importance of putting forth the best criminal defense possible in your case.
What are your defense options?
This is going to depend, in large part, on the facts of your case. However, there are some commonly utilized criminal defense tactics that may be applicable in your case. Let’s look at some of them:
- Lack of intent: Before prosecutors can obtain a conviction in California for something like embezzlement or fraud, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to deprive another person or entity of the assets that were taken. Proving intent can be tricky, which means that the door is left open for you to make strong defense arguments here. Maybe you had a good faith reason to believe that taking the money was legal or that you were taking it for a justifiable purpose. Maybe you simply didn’t know that taking the money in the way that you did was a criminal act. Either way, these arguments, especially when supported by compelling evidence, may give you the protection that you need to avoid conviction.
- Consent: In some instances, it’s possible to argue that the funds that were taken were appropriated with the consent of the owner. This consent may be explicit or implicit, but either way, any argument pertaining to consent is going to speak to whether you had the requisite intent necessary for the prosecution to obtain a conviction.
- Duress: Here, you would simply argue that you were coerced into taking the money in question. Merely showing some pressure is likely going to be insufficient to avail yourself of this defense. Instead, you’re going to have to demonstrate something more severe, like being threatened with physical harm.
- Lack of evidence: In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution is going to have to prove every element of the alleged crime. This means that the prosecutor will try to show that you were in a power of authority, that you intentionally took the funds, that you actually took the funds in question and that you intended to deprive someone else of the use of those funds. You might have an alibi that demonstrates that you weren’t present when the alleged act occurred, or maybe you can prove that you didn’t even have access to the funds in question. You have a lot of options to explore here.
- Statute of limitations: Remember, the prosecution has to bring charges against you within a certain period of time. If they fail to do so, they are barred from prosecuting you.
Shield yourself from aggressive prosecutorial tactics
If you’re facing white collar crime allegations, the prosecution is probably going to come at you with full force. If you want to protect your future, you need to know how to aggressively defend against the allegations that have been levied against you. Fortunately, you may have multiple options available to you. By speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can learn more about the defense strategies that are most fitting for your case and how best to present them in a way that will hopefully convince a judge and jury that conviction is unwarranted.