Culpeper County Embezzlement Lawyer
Whenever someone in Culpeper has control over money or something of value that belongs to another person or company, the potential for embezzlement arises. Embezzlement is a form of larceny or theft.
What makes embezzlement unique from other theft crimes is that the property involved is freely given to the person accused of wrongfully appropriating it. Since the element of trust is involved, embezzlement has traditionally been viewed as more serious than basic theft.
If you are facing embezzlement charges, a knowledgeable Culpeper County embezzlement lawyer could help you understand the implications, potential consequences, and your options for fighting the charges.
A dedicated criminal defense attorney could also work to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf throughout the process to help reach a positive outcome.
Elements of Embezzlement
Before anyone in Culpeper may be convicted of embezzlement, the prosecution must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the person accused committed the specific offense as described in state criminal statutes. Every crime is made up of certain elements, and each element must be proven in order to find that someone violated the statute.
For the offense of embezzlement as defined in Va. Code Ann. §18.2-111, the prosecution must prove that the person accused:
- Used, disposed of, concealed, or embezzled
- Money, a check, bond, or any property
- The property was entrusted to the person by another or received on behalf of another due to employment or other position of trust
- The use, disposition, concealment or embezzlement was accomplished “wrongfully and fraudulently”
If any of these elements is not proven, the person may be found not guilty. A failure to prove certain elements of the offense may leave the person open to charges of larceny. Individuals are recommended to consult an accomplished attorney in Culpeper to learn their rights following an embezzlement accusation.
Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges
Embezzlement charges may arise from a case of misunderstanding. An employee might move funds from one account to another as a matter of business and may be accused of moving funds to conceal them.
Someone entrusted with jewelry may take the property to be cleaned or stored and accused of wrongfully taking it. A person may sell property of another believing they are acting within their authority when they are not.
The key issue in many embezzlement situations is whether the actions were taken with wrongful and fraudulent intent. Evidence regarding the state of mind of the people involved is often crucial in building a strong defense to the charge of embezzlement. A well-practiced Culpeper County embezzlement attorney will be experienced with collecting and using embezzlement evidence in a defense case.
Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction
Embezzlement is treated as larceny in many respects. This could include the potential penalties. The offense may be penalized as grand larceny if the amount involved is $500 or more. Penalties for grand larceny include up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500.
If the amount is less than $500, the offense is considered petit larceny which is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Those convicted may be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail and a fine as high as $2,500.
If the person convicted has previously been convicted of an offense punished as larceny in any jurisdiction, the penalties increase and the offense may be treated as a felony under Va. Code Ann. §18.2-104. A knowledgeable attorney could explain which potential penalties a person may face upon a conviction for their charges.
Work with an Experienced Culpeper County Embezzlement Attorney
Even if treated as a misdemeanor, embezzlement is an offense that can be very damaging to your record for years to come. Since this crime involves a breach of trust, it could make employers, banks and others think twice before agreeing to work with you.
A Culpeper County embezzlement lawyer may be able to help. When you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you gain a personal advocate who will fight to protect your rights and your future. Call now for a free consultation.