The Do-Nothing Approach To White-Collar Criminal Cases

Posted on: 19 October 2021

Anyone facing criminal charges will have a strong urge to do something. That's especially the case when it comes to white-collar allegations. Even the low-level versions of white-collar charges, such as a township supervisor facing embezzlement accusations, often come with at least local news coverage.

The funny thing is most white-collar legal services providers will tell their clients to focus on doing nothing. Nothing can be a very challenging job, but here is why a lawyer will probably tell you to lie low and let the system work.

Prosecuting White-Collar Crimes Is Hard 

As a defendant or even a person of interest, the idea of a white-collar allegation sounds big and scary. This is the stuff entire TV shows are about, after all. It can't be good, right?

Okay, it's not great. However, the prosecution faces one of the highest possible burdens of proof if they charge you with a white-collar crime. Particularly, to land on a conviction, a white-collar case usually needs to include proof of intent. Unless you were sending emails telling others how you had a dastardly plan to defraud, it tends to be hard for a prosecutor to tie actions to intentions.

What can backfire, though, is mounting an active or even outright affirmative defense. An active defense is when you go after accusers and evidence. Worse, an affirmative defense is when you admit to the deed but assert you were within your rights to do it. Even if you were within your rights, it's better to sit back and let the prosecution come to you.

If You Did Send the Dastardly Emails

If you did send emails that stated your intent, the prosecutor still has a job to do, and a white-collar crime attorney will still likely tell you your job is to do nothing. Absolutely don't try to delete emails, wipe hard drives, or get rid of the evidence in any way. That's just needlessly risking a process crime charge like obstruction of justice. You'll have an easier time explaining why you said something than you ever will trying to explain why you destroyed evidence.

Let the Lawyer Work the System

You'll have opportunities to go after the evidence. The judge will order discovery, and you can see what the prosecution has and how they got it. If something is questionable, you can ask the judge to throw it out. If the evidence proves overwhelming, you may still have an opportunity to negotiate a plea deal. The important thing, though, is to do nothing and let your lawyer go to work.

For more information, reach out to a law office in your area, such as Cohen Law Offices, LLC.