What Are Your Legal Rights When Charged with Business Fraud?
Business fraud, also known as corporate fraud, describes the kinds of crimes that occur when individuals use dishonest practices in order to earn a financial advantage for themselves in a business environment. The actions may appear to be legitimate business practices, but in fact break legal rules that could cause the accused person to be found guilty of a criminal act, if the allegations were proven. Business fraud is a complex crime to prove, because it normally involves analyzing a complex set of business transactions. Those transactions have often occurred over a span of time, sometimes even several years.
The burden of proof is 100% on the State to prove any criminal case against you; you are not required to participate in the case against you at all. Although failing to properly defend yourself could lead to financial hardships and possibly the ending of the business itself. If you are found in violations of the law it may be hard to practice the business in the state or city you have the business in due to various licensing issues that may arise.
Asserting Your Rights
It is important to remember your rights even before you are accused of a crime. You do not have to make any statements against your own self-interest, whether or not there is an open investigation. What may seem like an innocent statement to you can be misinterpreted by an officer making a case against you, so it is important when dealing with State agents to consult with your attorney before making a statement.
During a complicated investigation such as one for business fraud, the State may need to collect a great deal of evidence. They may want to go through your records and even look at your client files. In order to do that, they will need to have a proper warrant approved by a judge. They are within their rights to look at anything described by the warrant, but they will not be allowed to go beyond the scope of the warrant in their search. You can look the warrant over when they serve you.
If Your Rights Are Violated
If the State violates your rights during the investigation, it may mean that they have caused irreparable harm to their own case. Search and seizure restrictions involve individual, Constitutional rights and are taken very seriously. Once the evidence is tainted, the Court considers it fruit from a poisonous tree and it cannot be used against you.
If you have any doubts, you should always feel free to contact your attorney immediately. Your attorney is used to helping people like you who may be unfamiliar with the law; it is never a waste of time to protect yourself and your rights. Once you have given up your rights, it can be impossible to get them back.
Get the Help You Need
If you have been charged with business fraud, you may be most worried about your reputation. Even getting the charges dismissed may not be enough to restore your good standing in the business community. Besides that, business fraud charges could end with significant amounts of jail time, probation, fines and restitution. The State has seemingly endless resources to pursue you, while your own resources are limited.
You need the assistance of someone who has the experience and skills to untangle the State’s case and assert your rights. If you have been accused of business fraud, or think you may be in the future, you can contact a qualified lawyer such as William Hanlon Tampa Criminal Lawyer today.