South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney: White Collar Offenses and Penalties

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9th May 2017


Although white collar offenses are typically considered non-violent in nature, a South Florida criminal defense attorney can explain that the penalties for committing these crimes are just as serious as they are for violent crimes.   White collar crimes consist of money laundering, embezzlement, bribery, forgery and myriad fraud charges.   A South Florida criminal defense attorney can discuss the possible penalties of being convicted of a crime of this nature, as well as the possible ways to avoid conviction.

Potential Penalties

The potential penalties for white collar offenses have a wide range from misdemeanor charges to serious felony charges.   The penalty for a first degree misdemeanor is up to one year in prison and a fine up to $1,000.   A second degree misdemeanor carries with it a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

If the crime is on the felony level, the potential maximum penalty is based on the degree of the crime.   For a third degree felony, the maximum penalty is five years imprisonment and $5,000 in fines.   A second degree felony carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.   The most serious degree, first degree felony, the penalty is between 30 years to life in prison and a fine up to $100,000.   First degree felonies can arise for specific crimes as well as when a person has committed two or more offenses that resulted in financial gain that equals or exceeds $50,000.    

Avoiding Harsh Penalties

There may be a number of ways to avoid the harsh penalties that coincide with white collar crimes.   A criminal defense attorney can examine the evidence that the prosecution has against a defendant to determine whether it can meet its burden or if the prosecution will have difficulty establishing a necessary element of the crime.   He or she can use this information to leverage a favorable plea agreement or possible dismissal of the charges.   He or she may use these weaknesses during the course of a trial to help a defendant avoid conviction.