Sometimes, it might be unclear to you whether the prosecution in a white collar criminal case is held to the same kind of standards and restrictions as they would be in normal criminal cases. Indeed, in white collar criminal cases, prosecutors have very broad discretion. But there are still strict legal, procedural, and constitutional limits, as well. Here, San Francisco white collar criminal attorney Christopher Morales will explain how white collar crimes are prosecuted in the same manner as general crimes.
In creating white collar offenses, federal laws generally incorporate criminal law principles. That means that in order for the prosecution to succeed, it must prove the traditional elements of a crime: mens rea (the “guilty mind”), actus reus (the “guilty act”), and causation (that is, the defendant’s act caused the harm). Usually in white collar crime cases, the first element (mens rea) is the hardest to prove.
The white collar criminal defendant may also use all the defenses that are available in criminal law. These defenses include insanity, intoxication, duress, necessity, self-defense, and entrapment.
As with all other criminal cases, the prosecution in white collar criminal cases must act within the bounds set by the U.S. Constitution, namely the Fourth Amendment (which prohibits the government from engaging in unreasonable searches and seizures) and the Fifth Amendment (which protects the defendant from compelled self-incrimination).
Depending on the underlying crime, white collar crimes can carry with them enormous consequences: fines, civil liability, and even significant jail time. There are state and federal statutes in place that have heightened punishment and sentencing for white collar offenses. If you or a loved one has been charged with a white collar crime, contact experienced San Francisco white collar criminal attorney Christopher Morales today for a free and confidential initial consultation.