Can a White Collar Crime Conviction Affect Your Career?

White collar crimes – or crimes which are often committed by professionals, politicians, or others in positions of trust – have the potential to result in serious consequences upon conviction. In addition to facing legal consequences imposed by a judge, such as probation, fines, and incarceration, the accused could also suffer personal consequences, including consequences to their present and future career.

If you have been charged with and convicted of a white-collar crime in the State of Tennessee, you want an experienced criminal defense lawyer representing you who has a strong track record of success when handling these cases. Knoxville criminal defense lawyer John Barnes of Barnes Law understands the seriousness of white-collar criminal charges and convictions and can represent you during every stage of your criminal case. Call us today at 865-805-5703, or contact us online, to find out how we might be able to assist with your case.

What is a White Collar Crime in Tennessee?

White collar crimes do not have a precise legal definition under Tennessee state law. Generally speaking, these crimes do not involve any sort of violence, but instead, they are financial crimes. Since these offenses can involve many individuals, the investigations tend to drag on for significant periods of time – even when they are prosecuted at the state level. White collar crimes commonly prosecuted in Tennessee include the following offenses:

  • Fraud offenses – Fraud offenses can range from any type of wire or mail fraud to forgery or identity theft. Forgery occurs where the accused signs someone else’s name to an important legal document without that person’s authority or legal consent. Identity theft occurs where the accused allegedly assumes another person’s identity in order to achieve some sort of financial gain. For example, the accused could open a bank account or a credit card in the name of the alleged victim.
  • Money laundering offenses – A money laundering offense is an offense where the accused attempts to hide the source of illegally obtained assets.
  • Embezzlement crimes – A crime of embezzlement occurs when an individual who is entrusted with certain property or money (usually owned by an employer) and misappropriates that money or property to his or her own use.
  • Public corruption offenses – Public corruption offenses could involve illegal kickbacks, bribery, or extorting a public official in violation of state law.
  • Professional malpractice – Professional malpractice occurs when a professional, such as a health care provider, accountant, or attorney overcharges for services rendered – or bills for services which were never rendered in the first place. In the medical context, this fraudulent activity is sometimes referred to as “upcoding.”
  • Internet crimes – A person could be charged with an internet crime if he or she engages in credit card fraud, participates in illegal drug distribution or trafficking, or distributes underage child pornographic materials via the internet.

For a state prosecutor to obtain a guilty finding or conviction in a white collar crime case, he or she must satisfy the legal burden beyond a reasonable doubt. If the accused is ultimately convicted white collar crime under state law, then it falls upon a state court judge to pass sentencing on the accused.

Depending upon the extent of the white collar crime, as well as the number of individuals impacted by the offense, the accused could be sentenced to fines, jail time, probation, and other related criminal penalties. The sentencing judge might also require the accused to pay restitution to all of the alleged victims who are ultimately affected by the accused’s criminal activities.

Potential Career Consequences of a State White Collar Criminal Conviction

In addition to the potential legal consequences oftentimes associated with white collar criminal convictions in the State of Tennessee, you could also experience significant professional consequences – including potential consequences to your professional reputation in the community. In many instances, it can be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to rebuild that reputation, since word of mouth often travels extremely fast.

If you work for the federal government (or even for a private employer), it is extremely likely that you will lose your job after you are convicted of a white collar criminal offense. A conviction will also result in a permanent criminal record which will show up during any criminal background search that a prospective employer undertakes in the future. Consequently, a state white collar crime conviction could make it difficult for you to find employment elsewhere in the future.

Educational institutions also regularly undertake criminal background checks on prospective students. A white collar crime conviction, therefore, can make it difficult for you to further your education or career by obtaining an advanced degree at a college or university.

Potential Defenses to a State White Collar Crime

An experienced Knoxville criminal defense attorney could protect you against career consequences related to a white collar crime by helping you avoid a conviction in the first place. Your lawyer could do this by asserting a strong legal defense on your behalf against the pending criminal charge. Common defenses to state white collar crimes include:


  • Insanity
  • Duress
  • Entrapment
  • Intoxication
  • Legal incapacity

Knoxville criminal defense lawyer John Barnes of Barnes Law will carefully examine all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to your white collar criminal charge and determine whether any legal defenses are available.

Talk to a Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney about Your White Collar Criminal Charge

A lot is riding on the line when it comes to white collar criminal convictions in Tennessee. Attorney John Barnes of Barnes Law understands the potential consequences to you and your career that might arise from a white collar criminal conviction. If you are facing one of these charges, let Attorney Barnes help by safeguarding all of your constitutional rights while your case is pending and assisting you throughout the entire process.

To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Knoxville criminal defense attorney, please call us today at 865-805-5703, or contact us online.