Finding out that you are under investigation for a white collar crime is alarming to say the least. You may feel the need to take immediate action – and you should take some actions.
Such as consulting with a knowledgeable Denver criminal attorney as soon as possible.
However, many people panic when they find out they are under investigation, causing them to make mistakes that are detrimental to their cases. This is a big deal, because although white collar crimes often do not carry the same stigma as violent or drug-related offenses, these kinds of charges are quite serious, and in some cases can even have more severe criminal consequences than violent crimes or drug crimes.
Depending on the offense in question, you could face felony-level charges, punishable by lengthy prison sentences, hefty criminal fines, and even restitution.
Below, we’re going to review common mistakes people make while under investigation for white collar crime, and how to avoid making these mistakes over the course of your case.
Importantly, most errors made on your part during an investigation for white collar crime can and will be used against you. In fact, in many cases, law enforcement counts on defendants to make errors that stack the deck in the prosecution’s favor.
On the flip side, in many situations it may be possible to get your case thrown out entirely if, with the help of your attorney, you are savvy during the investigation. You can do this in part by avoiding the three common white collar investigation errors we’re going to go over.
Talking to Anyone but Your Attorney
In any legal matter, silence is golden. White collar crime investigations are particularly fact-based. Investigators and prosecutors compile the most damning evidence against you to attempt to convict you. Often, some of the most important evidence is obtained by questioning the defendant.
If you are under investigation, be aware that anything and everything you say to anyone (other than your attorney) can and will be used against you. This rule applies not only to law enforcement officials and prosecutors, but also to your friends, neighbors, relatives, and even your spouse.
If anyone at all attempts to question you about the investigation, tell them that you are unable to discuss the matter without your lawyer present. He or she is the only person you should be talking to.
Not Telling Your Attorney Everything
Your white collar crime defense lawyer is your trusted advocate, and will do everything possible to defend against the charges you face. However, failing to tell your attorney important facts about the case will severely impair his or her ability to defend your case.
Due to attorney-client privilege, your lawyer is required to keep anything you tell him or her in strictest confidence. You should therefore trust your attorney with any and all details of the alleged crime. Being as forthcoming as possible will help them assess what evidence could be found against you, and therefore to develop the best possible defense.
Altering or Destroying Evidence
If you learn that you are being investigated for a white collar crime, your first inclination may be to alter or destroy any evidence that could be used against you.
Don’t do it! These actions are considered to be evidence of wrongdoing, and in fact may be even more incriminating than the evidence you were attempting to alter or destroy.
Be aware that investigators are looking not only for evidence against you, but also specifically for whether it has been altered. Further, investigators have many means for discovering evidence that you may have attempted to destroy.
If you are being investigated for white collar crime, you should absolutely take the matter seriously. A big part of that, however, involves treading carefully and understanding the potential repercussions of every action you might take.
An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through this process, all while helpingyou through this process, all while helping you craft the best possible white collar crime defense.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.