White collar crimes involve some of the most misunderstood and complicated aspects of Texas criminal law, and a large part of the confusion stems from the term itself. Contrary to popular assumption, you do not have to be wealthy or high-profile to face these charges. Anyone can be arrested for unlawful misconduct, which is actually defined as theft under the Texas Penal Code. In its most basic sense, the offense involves misappropriating someone else’s property for financial gain and through use of deception.
However, even after clearing up the terminology, white collar crimes are distinct from theft in many ways. The numerous types of schemes, relationship between the offender and victim, use of technology, and many other facets put these offenses in a category of their own. Considering the harsh punishment for a conviction, it is wise to retain a Houston white collar crime defense attorney right away. You can also review the following points to get a better understanding of Texas law.
1. White collar crimes laws cover a wide range of misconduct.
While they qualify as theft crimes, these offenses often involve large-scale, sophisticated schemes to scam numerous victims out of their property. Examples include securities fraud, identity theft, online ransom plots, insurance schemes, and money laundering. However, other white collar crimes arise out of employment or other position of trust, such as embezzlement from a corporation.
2. You will almost always be facing felony charges.
Whenever the value of the misappropriated property is in excess of $1,500, the white collar crime is a felony. At minimum, you could be charged with a state jail felony punishable by 180 days to 2 years of incarceration. If the amount exceeds $200,000, the offense is a first-degree felony. The range of punishment is from 5 to 99 years in prison, along with a maximum fine of $10,000.
3. Bail could be an issue for some white collar crimes cases.
Judges review the totality of the circumstances when determining whether to allow pre-trial release after an arrest for white collar crimes. In some cases, the court may impose special requirements for bond, since a wealthy defendant with access to funds may be considered a flight risk.
4. You could benefit from plea bargaining strategies.
Often, the defendant is someone with no criminal record; by its nature, a white collar crime is a non-violent offense against property. Together, these factors may open the door to discussing a plea agreement with the prosecutor. Also, the evidence in a white collar crimes case can be complicated, presenting challenges for the prosecuting attorney. He or she may be more willing to discuss a plea bargain knowing the case is weak.
Discuss Strategy with a Houston While Collar Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you have concerns about white collar crimes charges, it is essential to consult with knowledgeable legal counsel from the moment you are being investigated. To learn more about white collar crimes in Texas, please contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates at (281) 280-0100 or via our website. We can schedule a consultation to review your situation and advise you on options.