White-collar crime is not a specific crime. Rather, it is a term Texas law uses to identify crimes driven (mainly) by financial desires, obtained (usually) through nonviolent criminal activity, and allegedly committed (in most cases) by business professionals. As with many other criminal activities, the law can classify a white-collar crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Have you been charged with a crime? You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands and knows the general law about white-collar crime and the specific alleged offense.
Jason English, a former Assistant District Attorney with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, has dealt with these crimes from the perspective of the prosecutor, and now, as a criminal defense attorney. He leverages his knowledge as in your white-collar crime defense.
The Most Common White-Collar Crimes in Texas
Depending on the circumstances, white-collar crimes can either be state or federal crimes. In Texas, the most common white-collar state crimes include:
- Larceny or Theft
- Identity theft
- Forgery or Counterfeiting
- Tax Evasion
- Money Laundering
- Racketeering or Extortion
- Fraud, including bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, securities fraud, mortgage fraud.
What Factors Does a Judge Consider for the Sentencing of a White-Collar Crime Conviction?
In many instances, proving white-collar crime can be difficult, especially with an attorney who knows how to mount a solid defense and blunt the prosecutor's case. However, if you are convicted of a white-collar crime, the sentencing judge will consider several factors. At this point, your criminal defense attorney will present an effective argument for mitigation, based on the facts, once again demonstrating their value to your case.
Factors a judge considers include, but are not limited to:
- The applicable minimum and maximum range of punishment for the charged offense
- Any prior criminal record
- The severity of the crime
- The circumstances, i.e., what caused you to commit the crime in the first place? Was there a life crisis?
- Your role in your family and in your community.
What Are The Penalties For A White Collar Crime?
You can expect numerous penalties if convicted of a white-collar crime in Texas. These penalties include but are not limited to:
- Jail and fines according to the classification of the crime as a misdemeanor or felony.
- Disgorgement, which is returning any profits obtained via the crime
- Seizure of property
- Civil lawsuits by victims of the crime
- Deportation after serving the sentence if a non-U.S. citizen.
After you pay your debt to society, other consequences you will deal with include difficulty finding a job, obtaining housing, and applying for loans. Whether it's a misdemeanor or felony conviction of a white-collar crime, you can expect it to impact your life in profound ways. For this reason and due to the penalties' severity, it's in your best interest to fight the charges. In a best case scenario, your attorney can successfully get your case dismissed. At the very least, your attorney could get the charges reduced or obtain a plea deal that works to your benefit.
Criminal Defense of White-Collar Crimes in Texas
Criminal defense of white-collar crimes demands a comprehensive understanding of the facts and the law. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will defend your case from multiple vantage points, including affirmative defenses, general defenses, and constitutional violations.
White-Collar Crime Affirmative Defenses
If the facts and circumstances support it, your criminal defense attorney can employ numerous affirmative defenses in your white-collar crime defense. These defenses include:
- Duress – someone threatened you with immediate and inescapable harm—even death—if you did not commit the act in question.
- Entrapment – a government official gave you an opportunity to commit a crime that under any other circumstances you would not have committed.
- Mistake of fact, you reasonably believed the facts to be something other than what they actually were, but if what you believed had been true, you would be innocent.
If an accused individual's criminal defense attorney invokes any of these defenses, the defendant usually admits to committing the crime but provides a defense that justifies its commission.
White-Collar Crime General Defenses
General defense for a white-collar crime can include a defense as fundamental as demonstrating the defendant did not do the thing for which he or she is accused. It could also involve weakening the State's case by proving elements of the crime are not present.
Texas white-collar crimes usually revolve around some kind of dishonesty, deception, or misrepresentation. But it goes far beyond that. In Texas, each white-collar crime comes with its own specific elements that must be identified and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If an element of the crime is not proven, then a conviction cannot follow.
For example, in most white-collar crimes, the element of knowing and/or intending to commit the crime must be present. If a person is not mentally culpable, then the charge can be successfully challenged.
Constitutional Violations & Evidence Proving White Collar Crime
Before or during your arrest, the police officer – or any other law enforcement agent for that matter – must abide by stringent rules and regulations. Any departure from proper compliance could provide your attorney with a means to develop your defense and limit any evidence against you.
Common constitutional violations that can be used to suppress evidence include:
- Improper search and seizure
- Failure to provide your Miranda warning
- Intimidation or coercion to force you to speak.
Consult With a White-Collar Crime Attorney in Austin, Tx
As someone who prosecuted cases for over 15 years, Jason S. English understands the strategies prosecutors employ in white-collar crime cases to coerce the accused into pleading guilty. An arrest for a white-collar crime can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Knowing your rights and having an aggressive advocate to defend you is essential to making it through this tough period. Before you plead guilty to any crime, understand your rights and explore your options for fighting the criminal charges.
Have you been accused of a white-collar crime in Texas? It's imperative to speak to a criminal defense attorney right away. When you're dealing with a white-collar criminal charge, it's not an exaggeration to say that your life depends on retaining an experienced, innovative criminal defense attorney. Attorney Jason S. English recognizes that your freedom depends on his legal prowess in and outside the courtroom. Contact Jason S. English today at 512-454-7548 or online for an initial consultation and help with your protective order violation arrest.