Alexandria Fraud Lawyer
Criminal charges remain charges until proven in a court of law. If you have been accused of committing the crime of fraud, take a deep breath. Until you enter into a plea agreement or are found guilty, you remain innocent under the law. The next step to take is to speak with an Alexandria fraud lawyer to discuss what types of strategies you can use to protect yourself.
A fraud charge can take several different forms. An individual can be sued civilly or prosecuted criminally. Additionally, an individual could be charged with fraud in state court or in federal court, depending on the locality and circumstances of the offense. Each jurisdiction has different rules for proving that a fraud has taken place. While the legal system can often be confusing, an adept criminal defense attorney can help you to make sense of it all.
General Elements of Fraud
Under Virginia law, a fraud charge has several different elements that must be proven by the prosecutor in order for the State to make its case. The burden of proof lies with the prosecutor and remains beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court. That means if the jury has a reasonable doubt about whether the defendant committed the crime of fraud, they may acquit the defendant of that offense. While each specific form of fraud has a different element that must be proven, most crimes involve two basic components, actus reus and mens rea.
The actus reus refers to the act itself. In order to face criminal punishment for an offense, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant actually did something (or attempted to do something). This prevents illogical crimes from being prosecuted (like thought offenses, involuntary crimes, status charges, or future crimes).
The mens rea refers to the mental element of the offense. Depending on the offense, each crime has a different mens rea that the prosecutor has the burden of proving. Typically in civil court, the standard is negligence. But since so much more is at stake in criminal court – one’s life and liberty, potentially – the standard is higher. In many fraud cases, the prosecutor must show that the defendant actually had the intent to commit the crime. Intent refers to the specific desire to bring about the consequence of the action that the defendant has taken. An Alexandria fraud lawyer can attempt to disprove intent in order to disrupt the prosecution’s argument.
Types of Criminal Fraud
Fraud is the umbrella term to describe a wide variety of fraud-related offenses, including:
- Forging public records, currency, bank notes, or other writings
- Possessing a forged instrument or document
- Impersonating an officer, public safety personnel, or other official individual
- Using false pretenses to obtain money or signature
- Unlawfully recording motion pictures
- Issuing a “bad check” (also considered a form of larceny)
- Falsely obtaining (or attempting to obtain) a utility, including oil, gas, electric, water, phone, cable, etc.
- Making a false statement to obtain property, credit, or other financial benefits
- False statement in an official proceeding
- Identity theft
Contact an Alexandria Fraud Defense Attorney Today
Having competent legal counsel is the first step to mounting a defense to a fraud charge. Defendants should refrain from relying upon government appointed lawyers because these individuals are often overburdened with other cases to the point that they cannot devote the time, effort, and attention needed to defend your case. Think of a legal defense as an investment into your freedom. Call an Alexandria fraud lawyer that can answer your questions.