If a former employer is trying to take you to court by accusing you of embezzlement, it can frightening. Worrying about your future reputation, the ability to find another job and facing potential consequences is enough to make anyone truly concerned about what they should do. The first step in dealing with this type of charge is to find an attorney who is experienced in dealing with criminal defense.
They will be able to assist you in determining the facts of the case, what you may be facing and they will help build a case that will protect you throughout the process. Here’s what you can expect in this type of situation.
Different Levels of Charges
The state of Florida has three different levels of charges for embezzlement cases. If the amount is high enough, it may be considered a first, second or third degree felony, with jail time of up to five years. If it is a lesser amount, this is considered a misdemeanor and you could be facing fines as well as up to one year in jail.
A felony is much more serious than a misdemeanor and can make it difficult to find employment in many industries. If at all possible, you want to avoid having a felony on your record.
Proving the Case
In Florida, the burden of proof rests on the State. This means that they will have to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, embezzlement charges stem from a misunderstanding with old employers and the defendant isn’t even guilty. In other cases, you might have been guilty, but the extent of your guilt, intent and the total amount needs to be determined accurately.
This is where a crimes attorney is the biggest asset in your case. They will help build a defense that will either prove you as being innocent, or prove that your involvement was not as serious as the original charges claim.
Your attorney will help build the case in your favor by finding witnesses from your old job that can verify your character, as well as other witnesses that will be used to establish what kind of person you are. This helps the court to decide how they should treat you and what type of charges you should be facing, or the level of sentencing that they prefer. If it is your first offense, and the amount was small, you may be able to plead down the charge and not face any jail time at all.
Reducing the Charges
In many cases, your lawyer will be able to plead down the charges. This means that instead of facing a felony, it can be bargained down to a misdemeanor. This will help you in the future when it comes to your record and will also be beneficial in helping you find other employment in the future.
The key is finding an attorney who is familiar with these types of cases and has a proven track record in successfully defending against these charges and reducing the impact of the charges.
By taking the time to find the right representation, you will be assured that your future will look at a lot brighter.