An embezzlement charge is a type of white-collar crime that refers to instances when someone takes property they were entrusted with and uses it for their gain. Embezzlement charges carry the potential for incarceration and hefty fines.
Additionally, an embezzlement conviction can affect your ability to secure a different job or stop you from qualifying for certain living arrangements. The best way to minimize the consequences of a criminal conviction is to talk to an embezzlement lawyer about your options. We can review the details of your case to determine if a legal defense applies to your charges. Contact an embezzlement attorney with Smith & Holder, PLLC, to discuss your charges.
What Is an Embezzlement Charge?
Embezzlement occurs when someone fraudulently appropriates or converts to their own use property or funds they received due to their employment position or virtue of their office. The critical element distinguishing embezzlement from a basic theft charge is that the accused in an embezzlement case lawfully accessed the property or funds at issue, but broke the law when they used such property or funds for their own benefit.
Consider that a department store employee takes the store’s cash deposit to the bank every night to place into the business’s bank account. One night, instead of depositing the funds into the store account, the employee deposits the money into their personal checking account. The employee commits embezzlement because they lawfully possessed the deposit as a result of their employment position before depositing it into their account.
Potential Defenses to Embezzlement Charges
To prevail at trial, the prosecutor must prove every element of an embezzlement charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Some defenses that can help disprove one or more elements of the offense include:
- Lack of intent to appropriate the property for personal use;
- Lack of control of the property you are accused of embezzling;
- You had a good-faith belief that you were entitled to the property you appropriated;
- Duress caused you to misappropriate the property; and
- Insufficient evidence.
A legal defense does not apply to every case. Our team of experienced embezzlement lawyers can review your case and determine whether a defense applies.
Embezzlement Sentence and Penalties
Penalties for embezzlement vary based on the value of the property or money the accused embezzled. Embezzling property worth less than $1,000 is considered a misdemeanor and carries the possibility of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Embezzlement of property worth more than $1,000 but more than $5,000 is considered a felony and carries the possibility of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Embezzlement of property worth more than $5,000 but more than $25,000 is considered a felony and carries the possibility of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Embezzling property worth more than $25,000 is considered a felony and carries the possibility of up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
As you can see, embezzlement penalties can inflict significant hardship on you and your loved ones. Talk to an experienced attorney to discuss alternative options.
Other Consequences of an Embezzlement Conviction
An embezzlement conviction can also impact your reputation and overall trustworthiness. Embezzlement is what is known as a “crime of dishonesty”. A crime of dishonesty conviction enables prosecutors to present unfavorable information about your prior conviction during future trials. So if you have a prior conviction for a crime of dishonesty and go to trial on a new charge in the future, the prosecutor can use that prior conviction to attack your credibility on the stand and make you look untrustworthy to the jury.
Any criminal conviction on your criminal record can reflect on you poorly. The best way to avoid a conviction is by talking to an embezzlement attorney, who can negotiate with the prosecutor about your case.
Contact a Lawyer to Discuss How to Get Out of Embezzlement Charges
An embezzlement conviction can lead to irreparable harm to your reputation and criminal penalties like jail time and fines. An embezzlement attorney at Smith & Holder, PLLC, can review the details of your case and determine whether a legal defense applies. Our team will demonstrate how the legal defense negates an element of the embezzlement charge and negotiate with the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce your charges.
Our attorneys are aggressive, strategic advocates who pursue every opportunity to protect our clients from a conviction. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Chris Smith has experience with embezzlement cases and knows what information the State uses to build their cases. He uses his insider knowledge to secure favorable results for his clients.