If you're looking for white-collar legal services to address criminal charges, you're probably also wondering what makes these cases different from run-of-the-mill criminal allegations. From a legal defense standpoint, three issues distinguish white-collar cases from others. Let's examine what they are and how they might affect your ability to present a criminal defense.

1. State of Mind

The vast majority of white-collar criminal codes require what an attorney would call mens rea. This is the notion that a defendant had a criminal mindset at the time they took the alleged actions.

While the defendant's state of mind is not unique to the white-collar domain, it dominates much more in this field of law than it does in others. Why is that so? Most white-collar offenses involve things like fraud, embezzlement, fiduciary trust, and similar legal issues.

For example, fraud is typically only fraud if a person understood the fraudulence of their conduct and elected to pursue it anyhow. Contrary to claims that ignorance of the law isn't an excuse, it often is. However, contact a white-collar crime attorney before you try to assert such a defense.

2. Subpoenas, Searches, and Discovery

Most criminal cases come with some disclosure of evidence. White-collar cases are frequently downright thick with them. The prosecution often hangs their cases on evidence obtained from emails, texts, phone transcripts, and other seemingly boring things. Heck, they'll dig into an Excel spreadsheet if they think it might expose accounting issues.

One of the hardest things to deal with in these cases is just going through all of the discovery work before you have a single serious hearing. It's often a lot of documents, and a white-collar crime legal services firm will often employ multiple people just to sift through all of it. Fortunately, you can usually convince a judge to delay any potential trial so you can work through the discovery materials.

3. Overlapping Jurisdictions

Few white-collar offenses are limited to one jurisdiction. The reasons are sometimes complex. For example, a financial transfer might have gone through another state. Similarly, there may be questions about criminal exposure at the local, state, and federal levels. Traditionally, the feds get the first crack at prosecuting a case due to a doctrine called preemption. Also, your case might overlap with civil and tax laws. This creates scenarios where you may have to think about exposure in other cases.

To learn more, contact companies like Cohen Law Offices, LLC.