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White collar crime defense requires proactive approach


For many people who are charged with a work-related white collar crime, an arrest doesn't come as a complete surprise. If you've taken a risk by skimming funds from your employer or similar activity, chances are good that you're waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This waiting can be an excruciating experience because you don't know what lies ahead. Will you be arrested, and when? Will you go to jail, and for how long? Most important, how can you prepare for whatever lies ahead?

Knowing exactly what steps are involved in white collar criminal proceedings can go a long way toward a positive outcome. In this post we'll detail what happens when white collar crime is discovered by an employer, how that discovery leads to an arrest and charges, and how you can be proactive in your case.

Once a potential crime is detected, an employer may conduct an internal investigation and ultimately contact the police, who will follow up with an arrest if probable cause exists. From there you will likely be arrested and taken into custody while a prosecutor examines your case and initiates a complaint -- that is, formal charges against you. It's crucial that you heed the Miranda warning read to you by not providing information to police without contacting an attorney. You will, however, be required to provide your address, birth date and other basic personal information during the booking process.

The next step is an initial court appearance, also known as an arraignment. At this time you (or your attorney) will enter a plea. If you plead not guilty the judge or magistrate will set a trial date and bail amount.

In felony-level cases the process is similar, but instead of entering a plea at the arraignment, defendants next face a preliminary hearing. This hearing will be used to establish probable cause that you committed a crime. If probable cause exists, your case will be transferred to trial court. If, however, there is no probable cause, your case will be dismissed.

These processes tend to go more smoothly and quickly when you have a prepared defense attorney on your side, and retaining counsel before you're arrested is not an indication of guilt. Rather, it's a wise move toward protecting your rights and freedom. If you fear you may be arrested on white collar crime charges, finding a lawyer who works every day with the charges you might face -- and better yet, has experience as a prosecutor -- is one of the best ways to take control of your future.

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