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White Collar Crimes & Criminal Defense: What You Need to Know

White Collar Crimes & Criminal Defense: What You Need to Know

“White collar crime” is a term used to describe non-violent, financially motivated crimes. Although the nature and scope of charges can vary, white collar crimes are serious offenses, and law enforcement goes to great lengths when aggressively investigating, prosecuting, and penalizing individuals suspected of an offense. As such, working with proven defense attorneys becomes critical to protecting your freedom and future when charged with any white collar crime.

At Khawaja Law Firm, PLLC, our criminal defense attorneys have represented numerous clients throughout the Houston area facing criminal charges, including white collar crimes and offenses that posed life-altering consequences. Because we know the stakes are high in these cases, we work zealously to leverage our experience and insight for the benefit of our clients, and to fight for the best possible resolution.

While speaking with an attorney as soon as possible is your best bet for understanding the charges and penalties you face, our legal team wants to provide some important information about white collar crimes and how they are handled in the criminal justice system:

  • Charges – White collar crimes can encompass a number of unique offenses that, although different, involve some type of unlawful activity in order to obtain or conceal ill-gotten funds. Examples of common white collar crime charges include money laundering, tax evasion, extortion or bribery, and embezzlement, among others. They also commonly include a range of fraud offenses, including bank fraud, credit card fraud, health care fraud, wire fraud, and more.
  • Felony and Federal Crimes – The severity of a white collar crime charge will depend on the nature of an offense, the sum of funds allegedly stolen, and factors such as the amount of victims involved and where crimes took place. While there are some offenses which may result in misdemeanor charges, or which can be reduced to misdemeanors, many white collar crimes are prosecuted as felonies, the most serious offense level in our criminal justice system. Because white collar crimes often occur over state lines, involve victims in other states, or are committed directly against the government or a financial institution, they are also commonly handled and prosecuted by the federal government. The federal government has extensive resources to utilize when investigating and prosecuting suspects, and the penalties at stake are often more severe than those in state cases. When a white collar crime is turned over to the feds, the need for experienced representation is critical.
  • Investigations – Unlike many crimes where arrests are made by law enforcement officers who witness a crime occurring, white collar crime indictments typically result from careful law enforcement investigations. If you are made aware of a pending investigation regarding a white collar crime, it is absolutely essential that you understand and exercise your legal rights, including your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Talking to law enforcement will not help you; you cannot talk your way out of an arrest. Talking can also put you at risk of making statements that can be used to incriminate you and your knowledge of an offense, even if you are innocent. In addition to exercising your right to remain silent, you should also exercise your right to legal representation. Investigations are critical phases of a criminal case, and enlisting the help of a defense attorney can allow for pre-file intervention and negotiations that may prove effective at mitigating or avoiding charges and potential penalties.
  • Penalties – While white collar crimes may not be violent offenses, they are not victimless crimes. This is why law enforcement and prosecutors are intent on securing convictions and maximum penalties. Penalties will always vary depending on the nature of the white collar crime. As most offenses are felonies, one can generally expect hefty fines and fees and terms of imprisonment, sometimes with mandatory minimums. Certain aggravating factors can also be grounds for elevated penalties and longer prison sentences. These factors include larger sums of money, implication in other crimes, and elderly or vulnerable adults. In addition to immediate penalties posed by white collar crimes, accused individuals will also face considerable long-term consequences, including the disadvantages and limitations that come with a criminal record.
  • Working with an Attorney – Legal representation is important in any criminal case, and even more so when charges involve white collar crimes. With your freedom and future at stake, you need an advocate who has the insight and experience to not only guide you through an unfamiliar process, but to also dedicate the time and resources needed for investigating all aspects surrounding your arrest, law enforcement investigations, and the version of facts presented by prosecutors. Our legal team takes pride in dedicating ourselves to exploring all options and defense strategies for our clients, and to providing the honest counsel they need to make informed decisions about their future. We work closely with our clients, and we fight aggressively to protect their rights, freedoms, and futures.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a white collar crime, or are currently under investigation for a fraud or financial offense, our legal team at Khawaja Law Firm, PLLC knows that this can be an overwhelming experience. During these difficult times, you can find the support and representation you need by working with our criminal defense attorneys. Remember, time is of the essence when you have been charged with a crime by the state or federal government, and working fast to retain the help of a defense team can make the difference in your case. Don’t wait to make the most important call you can.

To discuss your case with a member of our team, contact us for a FREE and confidential case evaluation.

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