Common Embezzlement Defenses


Embezzlement is considered a white collar crime, involving finances and other assets. These crimes happen when a person is trusted with assets and they use them inappropriately. They may pocket some of the extra cash instead of using it the way that they were asked to. They may put stocks in their name instead of the right person’s.

People who are charged with embezzlement need to consult a lawyer because their life is forever changed. Fines can be large and many people that are guilty end up spending some time in jail for this crime.

An experienced lawyer will help you come up with a defense that works for your case. To help, here are some common ones that your lawyer might want you to consider.

  • Insufficient evidence. If there is not enough evidence, there is no way that you can be charged and convicted of a crime. This is true in any type of crime so it is usually the first defense no matter what you did. A little less than half of embezzlement cases are dismissed due to insufficient evidence so it might be worth looking into. However, a jury might still find you guilty without a reasonable doubt so this defense doesn’t always work.
  • Absence of intent to commit a crime. In order to prove that you are an embezzler, the other side will have to show that you intended to take the assets. If they are not able to prove that, your case may be dismissed.
  • Duress. Using duress as a defense works if you believe that you were in danger if you didn’t embezzle the assets. This doesn’t work if you embezzled money because you were unable to support your family due to an illness or anything else. However, it may work if you thought you would lose your job if you didn’t commit the crime.
  • Entrapment. Entrapment can be used as a defense if the government forces you (who are innocent) to embezzle the assets. If you weren’t forced, you wouldn’t have done it. However, the prosecution may fight that it was possible that you would have embezzled the assets even without being forced.
  • Insanity. Insanity is a common defense for many crimes, though it can be hard to convince a jury that you were insane. It rarely works for embezzlement cases.
  • Incapacity. Though insanity doesn’t usually work, you might have a defense of incapacity. You have to be able to prove that you were mentally incapacitated at the time of the crime. The main defense is medication. However, it needs to be prescribed by a physician even though it has many side effects.
  • Intoxication. Like incapacity, intoxication tries to prove that you didn’t know what you were doing when you embezzled the assets. However, this rarely works because, when you drink voluntarily, you should know what the risks are.
  • Plea of nolo contendere. There are times when the plea of nolo contendere works in an embezzlement case. In these cases, you won’t plead guilty or innocent. Instead, the court must use the evidence to determine the truth. However, the court system has to allow this defense before you can use it.

In order to have the best chance of a successful trial, it is important that you consult a lawyer. He or she will talk you through your options so that you can choose the perfect defense for your own case.

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We would be happy to discuss your case and go over your options with you. We will do everything we can to give you the best chance at getting a lesser charge or less punishment.

Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case. Please read our disclaimer.