White-collar crimes typically involve intentional financial misconduct. Embezzlement and various forms of fraud often have a financial motive, as people seek to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

When the Washington criminal courts hear white-collar criminal cases, judges have to make important decisions about the penalties that they impose in the event of a conviction. Anyone who pleads guilty or gets convicted of a white-collar criminal offense could serve a sentence in state custody. They may end up on probation and may have to pay large fines as one of the penalties for their criminal charges. Additionally, there is another common financial penalty that can significantly increase the impact that white-collar criminal charges have on someone.

The courts may order restitution

When a crime has a financial impact on a victim, addressing the economic consequences can be part of the justice process. Washington state law empowers certain judges to order restitution to victims in cases involving fraud, embezzlement and similar financial crimes.

Orders of restitution can occur as a byproduct of criminal proceedings or as a result of the affected parties filing a lawsuit against the defendants. An order of restitution can drastically increase the total financial impact that white-collar criminal charges have on an individual.

Someone may end up paying multiple times more than the alleged total financial gain generated by the purported white-collar criminal activity. The possibility of financial penalties is one of many reasons why people should think twice before pleading guilty to financial crimes.

The potential impact that a conviction could have on someone’s career in the future is also an important consideration. Professionals may lose their eligibility for state licensing in some cases or may find it all but impossible to secure employment after a conviction for a white-collar criminal offense.

Although white-collar charges often involve extensive evidence, there is the possibility that the state could misinterpret the evidence. There could be another party to blame, or perhaps what looks like fraud is actually the result of a few bad investment decisions, not intentional misconduct.

Fighting back assertively when accused of a white-collar crime can help someone to preserve their reputation and their finances, when possible. Professionals who understand the risks involved might find it easier to respond appropriately to a recent charge.