Just like individuals, corporations have rules that they need to abide by. If a company breaks those rules, it can face charges that result in financial and other penalties. In some cases, those other penalties include executives or employees spending time in jail or prison. What should your corporation do if it faces criminal charges?
Take Time to Fully Understand the Charges
The first step in the process of preparing a legal defense is to understand the charge or charge that your company is facing. It is possible that the government is pressing charges against someone who embezzled money or otherwise acted inappropriately without your knowledge. Furthermore, you should understand that a criminal charge is merely an accusation of a crime. Therefore, there is no guarantee that you or anyone else did anything wrong.
Hire an Attorney and Create a Legal Position
A Tampa criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you learn more about your rights throughout the legal process. Those rights typically include the ability to remain silent in the face of questions from a judge, prosecutor or police officer. You also have the right to ask to be free on bail as the legal process unfolds.
The first thing that your attorney will do after being hired is begin to review the evidence against the company. This may involve reviewing tax documents, corporate emails or anything else that could be relevant in the matter. Generally speaking, legal counsel has the right to analyze any documents or other information that will be used as evidence at trial.
After reviewing the evidence, your attorney will create a strategy that is most likely to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case. Examples of legal strategies include asserting that you didn’t intend to break the law or that an employee acted without your knowledge.
Cooperate to the Fullest Extent That You Can
It is important to cooperate with authorities as much as you can during an investigation. Your Tampa criminal defense lawyer will be able to help answer any questions investigators have or provide any information that investigators need. While you don’t want to incriminate yourself, being polite and helpful can bolster a claim that you are innocent.
At a minimum, it can help to create a perception among a grand jury that you could be a victim of government overreach. The same may be true among jurors who preside over your trial. Having a solid rapport with the judge or prosecutor in your case can also make it easier to negotiate a plea deal that comes with favorable terms.
Listen to the Advice of Your Counsel
As a business owner, you may feel as if you can be successful at anything that you put your mind to. However, it is critical that you follow the advice of your attorney throughout the legal process. Going against the advice of counsel could result in additional charges or penalties that could be avoided by not letting your ego get in the way. Remember, even attorneys will hire attorneys to represent them in their own legal matters.
If your company is facing criminal charges, it is important to hire an attorney as quickly as possible. This may help to preserve your rights and increase your chances of resolving the matter quickly and favorably. It can also minimize the potential damage done to your company’s brand and to those who are associated with it.