White-collar crimes refer to non-violent financial crimes committed by individuals, businesses, or government professionals to enrich their personal wealth. It includes several crimes, including fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud, credit card fraud, and many more. It can be stressful and overwhelming if you are charged with a white-collar crime. However, the following legal defenses can be used to support your case.
Lack of intention
Prosecutors must prove that you intended to commit a specific type of white-collar crime. Therefore, if the alleged offense resulted from a miscalculation or genuine mistake, this becomes a valid defense. The court will dismiss your case if you prove that you had no intention to commit the crime for financial gain.
Lack of knowledge
A lack of knowledge is not typically a strong legal defense. The law assumes it is common knowledge that a particular action is illegal. However, you can present a valid defense if you were part of a group involved in a white-collar crime but had no knowledge of it while it occurred.
Many white-collar crimes require a solid understanding of finances, banking, and computers. Therefore, you have a valid defense if you can prove that you did not understand the nature of the white-collar crime committed. This defense is also valid if you can prove that you didn’t have the skills to commit the crime.
Entrapment occurs when an enforcement officer compels a defendant to commit a crime. An element of persuasion or coercion by the officer is key. While using this defense, you must prove that you wouldn’t have committed the crime if it wasn’t for the government official’s direct influence.
Coercion can also be a valid legal defense for a white-collar crime charge. For instance, if you prove that another person forced you to commit a white-collar crime or they would hurt your family, you can use this as a valid defense.
Bad legal counsel
Sometimes a defendant is accused of committing a white-collar crime because they had relied on bad legal advice. This defense may undercut the accusation that you had the intention to commit the crime. However, it has a unique risk since it requires you to waive your attorney-client privilege and may be damming to the attorney.
Illegal search or seizure
The U.S. Fourth Amendment Law prohibits law enforcement officers from unreasonable search and seizure. They need to seek a search warrant from a judge to search for your property. Otherwise, your defense attorney should ask the court to ban any evidence acquired through illegal search and seizure from a trial or court proceeding. It penalizes law enforcement officers for violating a defendant’s civil rights, and in many cases, prosecutors who have their evidence excluded opt to drop the charges.