Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges in Orange County CAIf you’ve been charged with embezzlement in Orange County, CA, it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your rights.

Embezzlement and other white-collar crimes are taken very seriously in California. Depending on the circumstances, you could find yourself facing misdemeanor or felony charges if accused of embezzlement. A conviction could result in jail time and hefty fines. In addition, the conviction will remain on your permanent record, potentially making it difficult to obtain certain jobs, qualify for credit, start a business, or attend the school of your choice.

Embezzlement is a “Wobbler” Offense in California

In California, embezzlement is considered to be a form of larceny or theft. Embezzlement occurs when someone fraudulently appropriates money, labor, or real or personal property which has been entrusted to them. Embezzlement is a “wobbler” offense, which means you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on several factors.

In most cases, embezzlement is a misdemeanor crime in California. A conviction could get you up to a year in the county jail and $10,000 in fines.

However, if you are accused of embezzling:

  • More than $950
  • Your victim was an elderly or dependent person
  • The embezzled property includes an automobile or firearm

You could be facing felony embezzlement charges. In addition to the $10,000 in fines, you could also be sentenced to up to three years in state prison.

In either instance, the property that was taken will have to be returned to its owner.

Defenses Against Charges of Embezzlement in Orange County, CA

If you’ve been arrested on embezzlement charges in Orange County, CA don’t give up. Being arrested for embezzlement isn’t the same as being convicted of embezzlement.

In order to be found guilty of embezzlement, the prosecution must show that:

  • You were entrusted with property belonging to another person or party;
  • You fraudulently abused this power or trust to seize the property for your own personal gain or benefit; and
  • You intentionally and consciously embezzled the property with the intent to deprive its owner of the use or enjoyment of the property.

Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney Jim Tanizaki has represented many clients charged with both misdemeanor and felony embezzlement charges. A former Orange County DA, Jim knows the prosecution must prove that you are guilty on all three points beyond a reasonable doubt. This is often easier said than done, especially when the defendant is represented by an attorney with Jim’s legal experience and skill.

Dispending on the details in your case, possible defenses against embezzlement charges can include:

  • You didn’t use the property or money inappropriately.
  • You had no intent to deprive the property owner of his property or use.
  • You had a good faith belief that the property rightfully belonged to you.
  • You’ve been falsely accused/mistaken identity.
  • The owner of the property never asked that the property be returned.

Speak With an Orange County, CA Embezzlement Defense Attorney

Jim Tanizaki’s unique background gives him perspectives and insights few criminal defense attorneys possess. His defense strategies often result in reduced or dismissed charges for his clients. If you’ve been arrested and charged with embezzlement or other white-collar offenses in Orange County, CA, you can contact us through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation with a leading Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney Jim.