Man putting money in suitThis is the next post in my series on the handling of white collar criminal charges. My last article discussed how search and seizure issues impact white collar charges in Austin, Texas. It is important to understand that if law enforcement violated a defendant’s rights then, depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to obtain a dismissal of the charges. Whether such issues exist in a case is a question which involves complicated issues of law. It is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to fully understand your options. In this article I will discuss what one can expect when defending against embezzlement charges. If you or a loved one have been arrested then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Austin residents can face tough penalties in a theft case

Embezzlement (usually thought of as theft by an employee or other trusted person) is simply considered “theft” under Texas law, requiring proof only that a person took someone else’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. Prosecutors, judges and juries tend to take these types of cases particularly seriously when a defendant is accused of taking advantage of a position of trust. Theft can include stealing cash, goods, or services from an employer or transferring funds out of a corporate account to one’s own account. Our state imposes tough penalties for such conduct. These penalties, as of this writing, can include:

  • A misdemeanor conviction (and up to one year in jail) for amounts between $750 and $2,500.
  • A state jail felony (possible incarceration of up to two years) for amounts between $2,500 and $30,000.
  • A third degree felony (possible incarceration of two to ten years) for amounts between $30,000 and $150,000.
  • A second degree felony (possible incarceration of two to twenty years) for amounts between $150,000 and $300,000.
  • A first degree felony (which carries a sentence of up to ninety-nine years in prison) for amounts over $300,000.

In addition to these penalties, a conviction can mean the loss of professional licenses, having a permanent criminal record, and being disqualified from future employment.

In addition to theft, conduct including insurance fraud, loan or mortgage fraud, or misapplication of fiduciary funds can be punished under separate statutes in Texas. Most of these types of cases are felonies, and usually involve complex and voluminous evidence

Depending on the facts of the case, an Austin resident may find themselves facing federal criminal charges for financial crimes, as opposed to being prosecuted in State Court. A federal case means that a defendant will be prosecuted by the U.S. government and, if convicted, will be sentenced by the judge, who must consider the harsh punishments recommended by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Not all attorneys are licensed in federal court. If you find yourself in this situation then it is important to retain a lawyer who can handle your matter.

There are options available to Austin residents who face theft charges

If you have been charged with theft then you have options. First, as I explained in my last article, it is more common than many think for such cases to involve search and seizure issues. Such issues may possibly lead to a dismissal of the charges. Even if such issues are not present in your case, it is the prosecution’s burden beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knowingly and intentionally committed the act. Finally, depending on the facts of the case, it may be possible to reach a favorable resolution without going to trial.

If you have been arrested then it is important to contact an Austin white collar crimes lawyer immediately. I have been licensed since 1995 and am board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in criminal law. Contact my office today to speak with an attorney. Our firm also serves the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.