White Collar Crimes Defense Attorney in Birmingham, AL
Even though white-collar crimes aren’t necessarily associated with violence, they can cause severe harm to individuals and businesses. This is why the Alabama and federal courts take these crimes seriously.
If prosecutors or federal agents uncover sufficient evidence to charge you with any number of offenses, you could be facing imprisonment and exorbitant fines. On top of this, a conviction will damage your personal and professional reputation for the foreseeable future.
If you have been charged with a white-collar crime or informed that you are under investigation, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Kirk Drennan Law, we have nearly 20 years of experience representing people under criminal investigation or charged with all types of criminal offenses in federal, state, and municipal courts throughout Alabama.
Our firm will put its extensive resources and knowledge to work on your behalf. We understand that having criminal charges filed against you can be frustrating and terrifying. From the moment you retain our services, we take calculated and immediate action to help you get the best results possible.
Experienced Representation for Alabama White Collar Defense
If you are facing white collar criminal charges or a federal investigation, it’s vital that you choose a lawyer that has substantial and specific experience with your type of case. Kirk Drennan Law’s Criminal Defense Group is led by attorney Derek Drennan, who has been a dedicated advocate for his clients for nearly two decades.
Drennan provides aggressive legal advocacy, challenging any attempts by the government to deprive his clients of their liberties and property. Our firm develops innovative case strategies aimed at resolving your case as quickly and favorably as possible.
White Collar Criminal Cases We Handle
Any type of white-collar criminal charge or hint of an investigation should be taken seriously. Some of the types of white-collar crimes we handle throughout Alabama include:
Bank and Check Fraud
Examples of bank fraud include altering checks, forging signatures on financial instruments, using identity theft to obtain credit or a loan, and check kiting. This is a federal crime that carries penalties of up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines for each offense per 18 U.S.C. Section 1344.
Forgery is also a federal crime pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Sections 470 through 514. It refers to the falsified signatures on financial instruments as well as other legal documents. Penalties include imprisonment of up to 20 years and substantial fines.
According to 18 U.S.C. Sections 656 and 657, embezzlement is a white-collar crime that takes place when a person who is an officer or an employee of an FDIC-insured bank obtains funds from a federally-insured institution through improper means.
Federal authorities use different statutes to investigate and pursue healthcare fraud cases, including the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the False Claims Act. The penalties for private insurance or federal healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare) fraud will vary.
Wire and Mail Fraud
Under 18 U.S.C. Sections 1341 and 1343, it is unlawful to use the internet, the U.S. Postal Service, or any electronic device to commit a white-collar criminal offense. Each instance of fraud is punishable by up 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Sadly, federal prosecutors routinely pursue tax evasion charges against individuals and small businesses instead of major corporations. The fines and other penalties, including jail time, can be steep.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might accuse a financial firm, advisor, or broker of defrauding investors. There is also the possibility of insider trading charges. Both are federal charges that can result in heavy fines and imprisonment.
This is not an exhaustive list. Other charges that we commonly see include money laundering, racketeering, identity theft, counterfeiting, and insurance fraud. If you’ve been charged with a crime, contact Kirk Drennan Law today to discuss your circumstances.
Are White Collar Crimes Federal or State Crimes?
It’s important to note that a crime isn’t necessarily exclusively federal or state. In many cases, it’s both. In fact, if you’ve been accused of activity that’s against state and federal law, you could face concurrent charges.
However, it’s rare to be charged and tried in both jurisdictions. If elements of a crime elevate it from state-level charges to federal, the state may step aside and allow the federal government to take over. Federal charges generally carry much stiffer penalties than state charges, so it makes sense for the state to bring in the federal government.
Why White-Collar Crimes Are Often Charged at the Federal Level
The complexity of white-collar crime is one reason that perpetrators are often tried at the federal level. If a crime involves interstate activity, the banking system, or a federal agency, it is almost certainly a federal crime. However, there are several crimes that may be tried at the state level. Examples include healthcare fraud, embezzlement, and unemployment insurance fraud.
Have Your Assets Been Frozen?
If your assets have been frozen, those actions may not have been lawful, and we can help. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the government cannot seize or “freeze” assets that are unrelated to the crime in question.
The practice of freezing assets is a common tactic used by authorities with the goal of leaving defendants with little or no resources to use for their defense. In many cases, these actions are not justified, and we can help get them reversed.
Representation During an Investigation
When law enforcement opens an investigation into white collar crimes, they often cast a wide net. Unfortunately, too many people make the mistake of giving these officials free access to records or speaking with them without consulting an attorney in the belief that doing otherwise would be a sure sign of guilt.
When the evidence leads in a certain direction, law enforcement is sure to follow, and you might find yourself facing charges. Even when you haven’t been charged, it’s a smart choice to consult with a white-collar criminal defense attorney if you are approached by investigators.
Whether you are a person of interest, a target, or a witness in an investigation, our attorney can ensure that law enforcement follows the letter of the law. We can advise you of your rights, and our involvement can even stop an investigation from moving forward or minimize its impact on you by negotiating a deal with prosecutors that avoids formal charges.
Effective Defenses for White Collar Crimes
Defense Options for White Collar Crime
While the defenses listed below may work for some cases, it’s important to note that white collar crime is an extremely complex area of law. The defenses that may work best for you depend largely on the details of your case, how much evidence the prosecutor has against you, and how well they have covered their bases during their investigation.
Your entire future is at stake if you are convicted of white-collar crime—this is not a time to try out every defense to see which one sticks. This is the time to hire an attorney with experience in this area of law to protect your rights and your future.
Lack of Intent
For you to be convicted of a white-collar crime, there must be proof that you intended to commit the crime and follow it through until the end. This defense protects those who unintentionally commit a crime. Consider, for example, tax fraud. Filing taxes can be difficult, particularly for those with businesses, a variety of assets, or other complicated tax situations. While you may make an error by filing your taxes incorrectly, it is not a crime if you did not intentionally do so.
Duress or Coercion
The end goal of most white-collar crime is financial enrichment. To that end, many people who orchestrate these crimes have no problem manipulating others to act on their behalf. If you engaged in white collar crime because you or your family were in immediate danger of physical harm or death, it is possible that you won’t be convicted or that you will face a lighter sentence. Crime committed under duress or coercion may allow you to walk free, especially if you have concrete proof that another party orchestrated the crime and forced you to engage in it.
This effective defense is also one of the most widely misunderstood criminal defenses. It has a lot of elements in common with coercion. However, rather than being coerced by an outside third party to commit a crime, an individual is coerced by a government agent.
It’s important to note that committing a crime because of an undercover agent does not automatically mean that you were a victim of entrapment. It is only considered entrapment if you would not have otherwise committed the crime of your own accord. This can be difficult to prove, so it’s important to discuss this option with your attorney.
White collar crime is considered a fairly high-level category of crime, due to the amount of planning and effort that goes into carrying out a scheme. If someone does not have the mental capacity to carry out a white-collar crime, they may not be convicted. An incapacitated person may not understand the consequences of what they are doing or the nature of their criminal activity, a fact that could protect them from conviction.
White Collar Criminal Defense in Birmingham, AL
White collar crimes are incredibly serious, and there is a lot at stake if you’ve been charged with an offense or are the target of an investigation. If you need a lawyer or even think you might need representation, it’s vital that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Kirk Drennan Law, we are fully ready and prepared to protect you from the severe consequences of your criminal matter. We provide free initial consultations to all criminal defense clients and offer affordable and flexible billing arrangements.
Contact our Birmingham office today at 205-803-3500 or reach us online for an appointment.