Financial or white-collar criminal offenses may not seem as serious as violent crimes. After all, an offense is economic in nature and doesn’t cause physical harm to another person. However, both individuals and businesses can suffer lasting damage related to different types of white-collar criminal activity. As a result, prosecutors can pursue white-collar charges against an individual with great determination.
Someone accused of a white-collar criminal offense may look at the stacks of financial records and other evidence produced by the state and reach the conclusion that a guilty plea is the best option in their case. Yet, a guilty plea leaves someone at the mercy of the judge’s decision regarding their sentence. Sometimes, it is a far better idea to fight back against the risk of penalties that a judge could impose for a white-collar criminal offense in New York State.
Different charges risk different penalties
The type of offense and the total financial impact it has on others will determine what charges the state brings against someone. White-collar criminal offenses may range from Class B misdemeanors to Class C felonies. There is therefore a broad range of potential penalties.
A Class B misdemeanor would lead to up to three months in prison, while a Class C felony could mean as much as 20 years in prison. Technically, there are fine amounts associated with each different category of felony and misdemeanor as well. A Class B misdemeanor usually leads to $500 in fines, while felony offenses can lead to $5,000 in fines.
Judges sentencing individuals for white-collar offenses in New York can impose fines that amount to twice the amount of the misappropriated funds in many cases. In other words, the sentence that they hand down may significantly deviate from the standards outlined in state statutes. Additionally, the courts may order someone to pay restitution in addition to those fines.
Finally, those affected by fraud and other forms of white-collar crime can file civil lawsuits against a defendant. Those who plead guilty often have a very difficult time defending against civil lawsuits afterward. The best option for someone accused of a white-collar criminal offense is often to get help reviewing the evidence and developing an appropriate defense strategy both against criminal and civil allegations.