As a financial crime, embezzlement is the misappropriation of money, such as through wire fraud or money laundering. Sometimes, employees also commit embezzlement by stealing money from employers. You may need the help of an embezzlement defense attorney if you are being charged or investigated for embezzlement.
Four Reasons to Hire an Embezzlement Defense Attorney
1. Understand Potential Penalties
One of the best ways embezzlement defense lawyers in Houston can help you is by answering questions you may have about your charges and potential penalties. It’s essential to understand the penalties you may face for embezzlement charges. Many people who are guilty of such crimes can spend several years or even decades in prison and owe financial restitution to victims of the crime.
The penalties of your specific case will be determined by how much money was embezzled and whether the prosecution can prove that you were involved in the crime. Your lawyer will be able to give you a better idea of the consequences you may be facing if you’re found guilty of these crimes.
2. Gain Protection From Investigators
Another way an embezzlement defense attorney can help you is by giving you moderate protection from investigators. Simply by the virtue of having a legal representative, you will have some protection from investigators who are contacting you about your alleged involvement in an embezzlement case.
When you’re contacted by investigators, the best thing you can do is share that you have a lawyer and pass along your lawyer’s contact information. It’s best if you can avoid speaking with investigators without a lawyer present. The less you speak with investigators, the less likely your words can be used against you during court trials.
3. Dismiss Your Charges
In terms of defense, a lawyer for embezzlement cases may be able to help you dismiss your charges. Most people assume that embezzlement cases are cut and dry and that there is no possibility that charges can be dismissed – but the truth is that charges can be easily dismissed in certain circumstances.
In particular, the prosecution has the burden of proof, which means that they must be able to prove that you embezzled the money or committed other financial fraud. If this proof does not exist, then you cannot be legally charged for embezzlement crimes and your case can be dismissed by the court.
4. Build Your Defense Case
Finally, a lawyer can help you build your defense case so that the consequences of your case can be minimized. Your defense case will be tailored to the specifics of your charges, but some of the most common defense strategies for embezzlement include:
Absence of Intent
To prove embezzlement, a prosecutor must provide evidence that there was an intent to commit a crime. When there is an absence of intent, this means that the crime was unintentional or occurred because of a mistake. Proving the absence of intent is a good strategy to use when the motivation for your case is unclear or if there was a genuine misunderstanding or miscommunication that created the misappropriation of money.
Duress and Entrapment
Duress can also be used as a defense strategy. This defense usually only works if you genuinely believed that you would be harmed if you were not able to embezzle money. For example, if you were threatened or coerced into embezzling money, then the people who forced you to embezzle are the ones who are responsible for the consequences of this crime, and you may be able to have your case dismissed.
Sometimes, entrapment can also be used as a strategy to dismiss or reduce charges. Entrapment is a type of duress, but it stems from government pressure rather than the threat of physical violence. Entrapment as a defense can only be used under specific circumstances.
Incapacity is another strategy that can often be successfully used to defend against embezzlement charges. Incapacity can be both physical and mental, although mental incapacity is most commonly used as a defense. To use this strategy, you must be able to prove that you were not mentally capable at the time of the crime.
For example, if you were medicated or under the influence of drugs, you may be able to have your case dismissed because your judgment was affected by substances. You will need to discuss using this strategy with your lawyer to assess whether or not it can work for your case.
If you have been accused of embezzlement, you will need the help of a white-collar defense attorney to help you create a strategy to dismiss or reduce your charges. It’s important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible to have protection from investigators, minimize the consequences of your charges, and find a defense strategy that works best for your case.