A crime is an illegal activity that can be prosecuted by the state or federal government and is punishable under the law. On a social level, most crimes are considered to be morally or ethically wrong. However, not all crimes are the same. Under the law, crimes are characterized as greater abuses of public order (felony) or as lesser abuses (misdemeanor), and the issue of guilt or innocence is decided according to rules of criminal procedure.
Not only are crimes in different categories under the law and social order, but there are different types of crimes. The word crime might bring to mind guns, drugs, or violence for the majority of the population, but not all crimes are street crimes. Some are white-collar crimes. Which might leave you wondering, what is the difference between street crime and white-collar crime? No matter which type of crime you are charged with, a Knoxville criminal defense attorney can help.
What is the Difference Between Street Crime and White-Collar Crime?
Also known as blue-collar crimes, street crimes are generally those that can be seen by others. Types of street crimes include:
- Crimes against persons are those that involve bodily harm, the threat of bodily harm, or other actions that are committed against the will of the victim. Examples include assault, battery, sexual assault, homicide, domestic violence, and robbery.
- Crimes against property occur when the crime impacts a piece of property but does not invoke or threaten physical injury to an individual. Examples of property crimes include burglary, arson, motor vehicle theft, vandalism, and shoplifting.
On the other hand, white-collar crimes are usually financially motivated and non-violent. They typically involve some type of deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. Sociologist Edwin Sutherland first coined the term white-collar crime in 1939, which includes a range of frauds and scams committed by businesses or individuals. Examples of white-collar crime include:
- Bank fraud
- Check fraud
- Copyright infringement
- Corporate fraud
- Election law violations
- Financial institution fraud
- Fraud in general
- Fraud against the government
- Health care fraud
- Identity theft
- Insider trading
- Mass marketing fraud
- Money laundering
- Mortgage fraud,
- Phone and telemarketing fraud
- Ponzi schemes
- Public corruption
Consequence Difference Between Street Crime and White Collar Crime
Facing a white-collar crime charge does not necessarily mean that you will be exposed to lesser penalties if convicted. In fact, some white-collar crimes are charged at the federal level and inherently have more serious consequences. White-collar crime charges and blue-collar crime charges both command the expertise of a Knoxville criminal defense lawyer who understands the high stakes you are up against.
Potential penalties for a conviction of white-collar crime include:
- Home detention
- Community confinement
- Paying the cost of prosecution
- Supervised release
The extent of white-collar crime penalties varies significantly on the actual crime committed. For example, if convicted of insider trading, a type of securities fraud, you could be facing a minimum of 15 years behind bars and a fine of up to $5 million. A federal embezzlement charge could earn you up to a ten-year prison sentence, a $250,000 fine or both. Tax evasion carries a sentence of imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000 for individuals, or both. A reduction of your sentence is possible if you take responsibility for the crime and assist the authorities in their investigation.
A conviction can have a severe impact on your freedom, your reputation, your job, your family, and your future. You owe it to yourself to contact a skilled Oak Ridge criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to determine how best to proceed.
Facing White-Collar Crime Charges? Call an Experienced Oak Ridge Criminal Defense Attorney
You don’t need to comprehend the difference between street crime and white-collar crime to know you need a criminal defense lawyer in Knoxville on your side. Whether you are facing charges for blue-collar crime or white-collar crime, our seasoned attorneys can help. We have experience representing clients charged with all different types of crimes from all walks of life. Our non-judgmental approach allows you to feel comfortable being open and honest with us. Your honesty gives us the freedom to provide the best representation we can as we fight your charges together.
Call the Barnes Law Firm at 865-805-5703 to schedule your confidential case evaluation today, or you can use our online contact form. We also offer the convenient option of online video consultations if you are unable to come to our office.