Even good people make mistakes. Those mistakes can be enormously costly to you and your family if you don’t know how to competently navigate the criminal legal system. This is especially true if you’ve been accused of committing a serious financial crime, such as embezzlement. After all, if you take your case to trial and lose, then the prosecution may seek to impose the harshest penalties allowable under the law. This could include extensive prison time as well as restitution and fines that can devastate your and your family’s financial wellbeing.
So how do you go about defending against embezzlement charges? Here are a few considerations that you should take into account as you work with a lawyer to prepare your criminal defense:
- The legal elements: Before prosecutors can obtain a conviction at trial, they have to prove certain legal elements. For embezzlement, the prosecution is going to have to show that you were entrusted with assets, and you used that power of trust to convert those assets for your own personal use. Keep in mind that the prosecution has to prove intent, too. In other words, they’re going to have to show that you intended to take the assets for your own use while also intending to deprive the owner of his or her legal right to those assets. It can be hard for prosecutors to prove this intent.
- The penalties involved: The potential penalties that you face depend a lot on the underlying circumstances. More specifically, the amount of money that you’re found to have taken will dictate the amount of time that you’ll have to spend behind bars. So, analyzing what the prosecution can prove in this regard can help in the development of your criminal defense strategy.
- The prosecution’s evidence: Through the process of discovery, you can find out what evidence the prosecution intends to present against you. This will give you a clearer sense of how likely the state is to obtain a conviction if they take the case to trial.
- Your evidence: You’ll also want to analyze your evidence to see if you can poke holes in the prosecution’s case. If you can do so, then you’re better positioned to negotiate a plea deal that is fair and protects your own interest. Again, you’ll want to be thorough here so that you can clearly articulate your position and support it with compelling facts.
- Your willingness to take on risk: There’s a lot on the line in an embezzlement case. Although you certainly have the ability to take your case to trial, you also risk getting hit with serious penalties if you do so and lose. By negotiating with prosecutors, though, and admitting wrongdoing, you can probably obtain much lighter penalties that allow you to get back to your family and your life much more quickly. So, ask yourself how much risk you’re willing to take on.
Know how to navigate your embezzlement case
Embezzlement cases often receive a lot of public attention. Remember that anything that you say can and will be used against you in your criminal case. That’s why if you’re accused of a white-collar crime like embezzlement, then it may be best for you to discuss the matter with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will know how to guide you through the process while protecting your interests. Perhaps then you can rest assured that your case is in good hands, and you’ll have the defense strategy that you need to achieve the best outcome possible under the circumstances.