5 Things To Know Before Taking An Embezzlement Trial To Court

For those who have been charged with embezzlement, the future can be very scary. From facing possible time in prison to being expected to pay restitution for the funds that were stolen, the future can feel overwhelming. However, despite these possibilities, it’s important to remember all is not lost. In fact, depending upon the particular circumstances of a case, there may even be a chance of walking out of a courtroom free from any charges or convictions. But to do so, there are certain things you should be aware of before your embezzlement case finds its way to a courtroom.

Various Types of Punishment

Since no two embezzlement cases are alike, the punishments can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. For example, in some states, embezzling less than $1,000 may only result in a small fine. However, in other states where the amount was more than $1,000 jail time may be possible. The value of the property taken, along with the type of property taken, can greatly impact a judge or jury. Thus, whether it’s a large amount of money, cache of weapons, or important public records, most courts may pose a harsher sentence due to the potential damage caused by the embezzlement.

Similar to Other Crimes

While many people think embezzlement is a crime unlike any other, the fact is many aspects of it are similar to other crimes, such as larceny or fraud. Because of this, it may be possible for an experienced lawyer to get the embezzlement charges reduced to lesser crimes such as larceny, which can often result in far less punishment being administered by the court. For example, if a cashier takes money, it should be viewed as larceny, since there was no aspect of being entrusted with the money. However, should a manager steal the money that was entrusted to them to be deposited at a bank, embezzlement will be the likely charge.

Positions of Power

In many embezzlement cases, those who have been in positions of power are often held to a stricter code of conduct by a court, and thus tend to face stiffer punishments. This is especially true of individuals entrusted with taxpayer money, such as treasurers of towns, cities, and various organizations. In addition to this, embezzlement against disabled or elderly individuals is also viewed very harshly by courts.

Have a Good Defense

Because there are always so many extenuating circumstances involved in embezzlement cases, working with a lawyer who regularly handles these cases can provide a big advantage. And even though you may feel as if you will undoubtedly be found guilty, there are many defenses that can be used to sway a judge or jury. One of the most common is entrapment, which means you were set up by others to take the money or property that was alleged to have been stolen. Another defense is what’s known as the “good faith” defense, meaning you believed you had the authority to take possession of the property, be it money or other items. Needless to say, your lawyer’s expertise will play a large role in determining what they feel will be your best option for a defense of your actions.

Time Limitations Do Exist

Along with certain defenses such as “good faith,” one of the best options you may have for walking out of a courtroom a free person is having had too much time elapse since the embezzlement took place. Like other crimes, there are statutes of limitations attached to these acts, so if enough time has passed, authorities may be unable to charge you with anything. However, these time limitations do vary from state to state, so your lawyer will need to know the specifics relative to the state where your crimes took place.

By knowing these and other pertinent facts before taking an embezzlement trial to court, it’s possible to get the results you seek. But because the consequences for these actions can be severe, it’s always best to consult a lawyer who possesses past experience in these cases.

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