Chattanooga Embezzlement Lawyer

Embezzlement charges are extremely serious and depending on the amount allegedly misappropriated, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony. Either way, you could be facing fines, jail time, and permanent damage to your reputation unless you get help from an attorney. A Chattanooga embezzlement lawyer could help you navigate the complex legal system and having one on your side may be the best way to protect your rights and your future.

Embezzlement – What It Is and What It Is Not

Embezzlement is a type of theft characterized by the misappropriation of property placed in someone’s care. A retail store manager who skims money from the registers each time they close the shop, gaining significant amounts of money over time would be embezzling funds due to their status in a position of trust. However, it is not embezzlement when a low-level floor salesperson takes money from the register as they are not in a position of privilege. They would simply have committed larceny.

The fact that money or property is missing from a business does not necessarily mean that embezzlement occurred.  Prosecutors must prove that the accused owed a duty to the property owner, the owner granted legal access to the accused, the accused wrongfully possessed the items, and the accused intended to keep the property.

What Are Potential Defenses Against an Embezzlement Case?

A number of explanations could solve the mystery of the unaccounted-for property. Just because someone is charged with embezzlement, does not mean they committed the crime. Investigators may make mistakes, or prosecutors may be over-zealous to find a culprit. With the help of an embezzlement lawyer practicing in Chattanooga, a person suspected of wrongdoing may be able to clear their name.

In their defense, a Chattanooga resident charged with embezzlement could raise the following facts.

  • No duty existed between the charged individual and the owner
  • Someone else had equal access to the missing money or goods
  • The accused had no intent to steal but instead thought what they were doing was lawful
  • The property was lost or misplaced

How Is Embezzlement Punished in the Criminal Justice System?

A charge of embezzlement has statutory penalties based on the value of the stolen property. The least burdensome is a Class A misdemeanor charge for stolen property valued at $1,000 or less; the most severe is a Class A felony for property valued at $250,000 or more.

A person convicted of embezzlement in Chattanooga will face the following fines and prison sentences according to the amount appropriated:

  • $250,000 or more – up to $50,000 in fines and 15-60 years in prison (Class A felony)
  • $60,000 to $250,000 – up to $25,000 in fines and 8-30 years in prison (Class B felony)
  • $10,000 to $60,000 — up to $10,000 in fines and 3-15 years in prison (Class C felony)
  • $2,500 to $10,000 — up to $5,000 in fines and 2-12 years in prison (Class D felony)
  • $1,000 to $2,500 — up to 3,000 in fines and 1-6 years in prison (Class E felony)
  • Less than $1,000 — up to $2,500 in fines and less than 11 months, 30 days in prison (Class A misdemeanor)

The resolution of an embezzlement case may not require a trial. Prosecutors may offer plea deals, but it may be difficult to know whether a deal is in someone’s best interest without the help of a dedicated criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling embezzlement cases in Chattanooga.

It Matters Who You Select to Champion Your Rights

Defending your rights is never more critical than when you are charged with a crime and are facing substantial monetary penalties or even prison time. That is why it is essential to hire an attorney that not only knows Tennessee criminal law but how to navigate cases like yours. A Chattanooga embezzlement lawyer could vigorously defend your rights during any investigations, plea negotiations, and, if necessary, at trial. Let us help you by calling today.

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