describe non-violent crimes. There are literally hundreds of crimes that
are considered white collar and the criminals are usually
sophisticated, smart and well educated, especially as part of any
criminal defense investigation.
Below are some of the many crimes which are considered to be white collar:
- Antitrust Violations
- Computer /
- Phone / Telemarketing Fraud
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Healthcare Fraud
- Environmental Law Violations
- Insurance Fraud
- Mail Fraud
- Government Fraud
- Tax Evasion
- Financial Fraud
- Securities Fraud
- Insider Trading
- Forgery / Counterfeiting
- Public Corruption
- Money Laundering
- Economic Espionage
- Trade Secret Theft
The Definition of a Crime
A crime is the violation of a law set forth in written
documentation or established in common law by the local, state, or
federal government. For a person to violate a law there must be specific
punishments for breaking that law stated in the document.
The Difference between Criminal and Civil Offenses
There are two types of legal offenses: criminal and civil. Criminal
offenses are brought about by the state upon the defendant due to the a
direct violation of a law, and are punishable by a fine, public
service, incarceration, or any combination of these. Civil
offenses are brought about by a plaintiff upon a defendant merely to
settle legal disputes, and are punishable only by the surrender of
property or money. Also, a criminal case must be proved to the jury
“beyond a reasonable doubt” to result in a conviction, while a civil
case must be proved by a “preponderance of the evidence” to result in a
judgment. This means that the evidence must only suggest that the case
is more likely true than it is false.
Types of Crimes
There are three types of crimes punishable by law: infractions or petty
offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies. An infraction or petty offense is
the smallest possible violation of the law. These are often treated as
civil offenses and are not punishable by incarceration. include violations of municipal codes and ordinances, and
in some states. Crimes punishable by less than one year of
incarceration are misdemeanors. With misdemeanors, jail time may
substituted or supplemented by fines or required public service.
Defendants may be given a right to a jury trial with more serious . Examples of misdemeanors include , , , ,, , , and most . A
is the highest possible violation of the law and is punishable by more
than one year of incarceration or fines greater than $1000. Defendants
have a right to a jury trial in felony cases. , , are all examples of felonies.
There are many steps taken by the state, the defendant, and the
defendant’s criminal defense attorney in a criminal proceeding. After a
crime is committed and reported a law enforcement officer will go and
make the arrest. The defendant is then booked, where a record is made of his or her name, personal information, and the crime that he or she committed. An arraignment
then occurs before a judge, where the defendant submits a plea of
either guilty or not guilty. A written account of the accusation is
presented to the defendant, and a trial date is set for those pleading
not guilty. The defendant then is either assigned bail or detention.
Bail can be set for either “release on your own recognizance”, in which
he or she gives their word that they will be present for the trial
date, or bail is set for an amount of money specified by the judge. If
the defendant is detained then they are incarcerated until their trial
date. Before the case is taken before a jury it is presented to the
judge in a preliminary hearing. In a state court evidence is
presented to a judge and it is the judge’s job to decide whether it is
sufficient to take the case before a jury. However, in most federal
courts or for particularly heinous crimes the evidence is presented to a
grand jury, an assembly of common citizens, who then make the decision
based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion. If these standards are
found sufficient, the defendant must go to trial. During the
trial the case is presented to a jury, through opening and closing
statements and the presentation of witnesses and evidence. The jury then
deliberates on the case, and issues a verdict to the court. If the
defendant is found guilty the judge then issues the appropriate sentence
to be served out by the defendant. An appeal can later be made to examine whether the trial was properly conducted.
What to do if You are Arrested
Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The criminal law system
is very procedural and time sensitive. You must have a criminal defense
attorney to protect your rights and preserve your defenses. Further, a
criminal defense attorney will be able to point out procedural and
investigative errors by the police that may be used effectively in your
Your attorney should be present in all post-arrest proceedings,
including questioning by law enforcement officials and prosecuting
attorneys, lineups, and testing (such as DNA testing, etc.). Do not
answer questions without consulting your criminal defense attorney
first, even if you are told cooperation will result in your release.
Once you are arrested such a release can no longer be made. Be as polite
as is possible in such circumstances; aggravating law enforcement
officials can only complicate your situation.
In many cases, the state may appoint a public defender to represent
you. However, public defenders have high case loads and may not have
adequate time to dedicate to your case.
Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
In evaluating a criminal defense attorney, the most important factors
to consider are experience, fee structure, and simply whether you like
that lawyer or not.
Typically, criminal defense attorneys specialize in certain areas of
criminal law. For example, a criminal defense attorney may concentrate
on white collar crime cases, DUI and traffic cases, or felonies that
involve violence. It is important that your attorney is licensed in your
state and that he or she is well versed on the criminal procedure in
the jurisdiction in which you are charged with a crime.
Generally, criminal defense attorneys charge an hourly fee and a
retainer to being representation. However, certain criminal defense
attorneys may just charge a flat fee for certain uncomplicated matters.
How to Proceed
Being charged with a crime can be very stressful and traumatic. If you
are charged with a misdemeanor or felony you should be represented by a
criminal defense attorney who can defend your rights and preserve any
defenses that you have in a timely manner.