An accusation of embezzlement needs to be taken seriously. Employers can jump the gun and make these accusations without all the facts. Even so, be careful not to dismiss the charges too hastily. They carry with them both immediate and long-term repercussions, including the possibility of a criminal record. It is wise to obtain legal counsel before the case progresses too far.
A Matter Of Degrees
Embezzlement is a criminal offense that can also be referred to as employee theft or fraud. The interchangeability of these terms can be misleading. Don't let semantics downplay the severity of the situation; get legal advice and representation early on.
After securing representation, your next step is to get educated about the charges against you. Depending on the amount of money alleged to have been stolen, the classification of the offense can go all the way to a First Degree Felony and can also result in Federal Prosecution For example, if the proceeds obtained from the sale or other disposition are money or goods having a value of $200,000 or more, it’s a first degree felony. You may think the solution is as simple as paying the money back, but penalties actually include:
A minimum of 5 years and up to 99 years in prison
Up to $10,000 in fines
The right representation and knowledge base can minimize these penalties.
The Danger Of Not Securing Legal Representation
Clients often believe that accepting the legal consequences of embezzlement, or making a deal are in their best interest. The consequences of a guilty verdict are far-reaching, however.
Depending on the circumstances of your conviction, this criminal act can affect your ability to find a job, limit your options to find a safe and affordable place to live, and make acquiring property in the future more difficult. Not to mention, the loss of your professional reputation. Considering what is truly at stake, it is important to have a lawyer look for evidence that will impact the outcome of your case as well as decrease the severity of your sentence.
A lawyer has one of three main goals in mind for a fraud case:
1. Dismissal - Dismissal can happen because of lack of evidence or faulty procedures. They will try for a dismissal as early as the preliminary hearing, but it can also be attempted at any subsequent hearings. Getting a charge dismissed may allow your lawyer to have your criminal record expunged or have a non disclosure order filed.
2. Reduction of charges - Reduction of charges is done through a plea bargain with the prosecutor; often to allow you to received probation and take jail time off of the table.
3. Trial with acquittal - You have the right to a trial, if necessary. If your lawyer is successful at trial, you will be acquitted and the charges dismissed.
These goals aren't achievable without representation.
If you've been arrested for a crime in the state of Texas, or are facing a federal charge, it is imperative to quickly seek legal counsel about your rights under Federal and Texas law. From getting out on bail following an arrest to trial of the charges against you, Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo can navigate the minefield that lays before you.