White Collar Crimes

Although most of us imagine Neal Caffrey and the rest of the cast of USA’s hit television show, white collar crime is a serious category and often denotes thousands, millions, even billions of dollars in stolen profits, property, intellectual rights, and so on. White collar crime is defined as a crime committed by a person ranking high in society, normally involving no violence or threat thereof. It is often lumped together with other corporate-based crimes, from embezzling to check fraud, since the two share so many common characteristics.

Typically speaking, white collar crime includes charges such as the following:

  • Fraud, bribery, money laundering, forgery, and embezzlement
  • Computer crimes, such as hacking or identity theft
  • Insider Trading and copyright infringement

White Collar Names You Might Recognize

There are many famous—or infamous—names made popular by Hollywood that are synonymous with white collar crime. One of the most famous is Frank Abagnale, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can. Other memorable white collar criminals were invented by Hollywood but believable enough to be almost realistic, so often copied and probably immortalized, such as Danny Ocean (Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13) and Neal Caffrey (“White Collar,” USA channel).

Reality of White Collar Crime

Prisons and jails are full of criminals in the working class, men and women feeling no choice but to commit violent crimes, wind up with drug-related charges, or to find a way to steal what they cannot afford, from cars to cash. White collar criminals are no less dangerous, and probably more so if you consider the effects on the economy and more specifically businesses and society’s perception of morality. After all, if we think that we can get away with something, and it is glorified as receiving little or no actual jail time, we are probably more tempted to commit the crime.

It is critical that no one overlook the severity of these types of crimes, as United States lawmakers and law enforcement officials begin to crack down on white collar crimes in an effort to turn the tide back toward the law and ethical business dealings. Therefore, the consequences of committing these types of crimes are becoming harsher each year, in states like Alabama and Georgia, but also in the United States as a whole. Conviction can lead to hefty monetary fines, criminal restitution, long jail terms, and much more, depending on the individual and the case.

What a Conviction Could Mean For You…

The vast majority of white collar crimes are committed by first time offenders without any other criminal history. This leads many to believe that they will receive leniency, but this is an assumption with serious negative consequences. Whether you are convicted in criminal court or not, the people (or companies) that you have wronged still have the opportunity to seek justice in civil court, so you could still wind up paying massive penalties even if you do not go to jail for decades.

For instance, check fraud, one of the more common types of white collar crime, can carry a prison sentence of ten to twenty years, plus monetary fines or criminal restitution. In some cases, it becomes a federal investigation, meaning that you could face prison in a federal prison instead of state prison.

We Can Help!

The law is very specific regarding white collar crimes, and we understand these complexities and are experienced in dealing with these types of charges. Your future, and your potential financial success later in life, will likely depend on having someone to fight on your side, and that is what we do best. Over our twenty years of serving in the Auburn/Opelika area, we have defended thousands of clients, and have achieved a more than 90% success rate in delivering better-than-expected results in a variety of cases and charges.

Posted in Business Law, Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In-Depth Look at Business Law

Although most crime dramas on television focus on individuals and their legal issues, sometimes businesses find themselves in need of a professional attorney. The situations are diverse, and there are many valid reasons that a large or small business, company, corporation, or even co-op would need an expert business lawyer. These often include the following common practice areas for business law, in no particular order or importance.

Contract Resolution

Most businesses deal with contracts in some form or fashion almost every day, from business practices and deals with suppliers to agreements between other providers and so on. When these contracts need to be written, reviewed, questioned, or are breached, businesses must contact a skilled business lawyer in order to resolved issues and assure suitability for a specific purpose within reason. We have more than twenty years of experience dealing with Alabama business law, from contract violations to standard service agreements and much more.

Forming A Business

As you start your new business, you will quickly discover that you need help with securing all of the copyrights, trademarks, licenses, contracts, policies/procedures, and more that you need in order to get started. It is not as simple as simply hanging your shingle out anymore; these days it takes a lot of research to make it in the business world without risking a lawsuit at every turn. After all, there are dozens of Alabama laws and statutes that govern where you can open a certain type of business, what laws and statutes apply to that kind of business, and what happens if you violate one of those laws.

Employment Matters

If you plan on having even one employee, including family members and close friends, then you will need help determining how to protect yourself against a variety of claims and lawsuits down the road. The more employees that you hire, the sooner you will begin to discover how important a great business lawyer is for employment matters. Whether it is charges of discrimination or embezzling, we handle everything, or can help you find someone who is skilled at dealing with problems or cases like yours.

Ethics Violations

Lawsuits that deal with these types of violations are becoming more and more commonplace each year, as investors, clients, customers, employees, and others discover that people are not always as honest as you would hope in matters of business. Unscrupulous acts, such as an investor giving money to a broker and watching it vanish into thin air, lead to ethics violation lawsuits, and these can lead to very serious consequences for the broker, whether he/she actually did anything wrong or not.

Other Litigation Areas

There are dozens of other legal problems that can arise and create a need for a professional business lawyer, from copyright infringement to loss of intellectual property and much more. The laws that deal with these problems are very complex, and require an in-depth knowledge of the law that the average layperson simply does not possess. We have extensive experience dealing with Alabama business laws, and understand the narrow windows of opportunity that quickly close behind you, shutting the door on your claim or case forever.

Posted in Business Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking Down A Manslaughter Charge

You might think that a manslaughter charge is a simple and straightforward charge to defend, but that assumption would be very wrong and could cost you your freedom for the next three to thirty years in the state of Alabama. It is important that you understand the fundamentals of a manslaughter charge, from the two basic kinds of manslaughter to the different subcategories associated with each kind.

Keep in mind that this is purely informative in nature, and should not be viewed as legal advice or counsel!

Two Basic Types of Manslaughter

There are two basic categories of manslaughter recognized in most of the United States, known as:

1. Voluntary manslaughter. You committed the act knowing that it could cause a death, but this is a lesser charge than murder. For instance, if you catch your wife cheating and kill her lover in the heat of the moment, it is likely going to be charged as voluntary manslaughter.

2. Involuntary manslaughter. You caused the death, but not intentionally. This is a common charge for those who cause a death by vehicle, such as DUI-related incidents. Sometimes this charge is known as criminally negligent homicide.

Definition of Voluntary Manslaughter

Once you have discovered what your basic charge is, we will give you more details about the type of charge, so that we can work together to begin building the right kind of defense in your case. The basic type affects the sentencing in this type of case, with voluntary manslaughter being the more serious charge in many cases. That said, there are a few different subcategories associated with voluntary manslaughter, which deal with the underlying cause of the crime. They are:

· Provocation. There are specific laws regarding provocation in the state of Alabama, and we have experience with these laws so that we know when to use this as a defense in your case. One example is a crime committed in the heat of passion. A person does not act rationally under those circumstances, and may commit a crime that he or she would not normally commit otherwise.

· Imperfect. The most common reason for an imperfect voluntary manslaughter is self-defense. If someone attacks you or someone you love, and you kill him or her, it can be classified under this category.

· Diminished responsibility or lack of responsibility/liability. Normally, you will need to prove a decreased mental capacity or mental illness in order to utilize this defense.

· Insanity. Similar to diminished responsibility claims, the difference is that if you are found not guilty by reason of insanity, you could spend the rest of your life in a mental institution.

· Infanticide. Postpartum depression can cause a mother to do the unthinkable.

Definition of Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter also has a few different subcategories, mostly based on how the crime occurred and what caused the person or persons’ death. These are:

· Criminally negligent. This happens when someone acts in a manner so irresponsible and negligent that it causes someone to die. For instance, if a landlord knows that the stairs are broken and does nothing to fix them, and someone falls down the stairs and dies, the landlord may be charged with criminally negligent involuntary manslaughter.

· Unlawful act/constructive manslaughter. Referring to a death that occurs as a result of someone committing what is classified as a misdemeanor. In other words, you committed a misdemeanor without the intention of anyone getting hurt or killed. For instance, if you give someone an over the counter medication, but they die from a drug interaction with something you had no idea they were taking, it could be classified in this way.

Contact us to schedule your initial consultation and begin building a successful defense today! We are licensed to practice law in both Alabama and Georgia, with more than twenty years of experience in a wide variety of practice areas.

Posted in Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alabama Manslaughter Laws

Any case that deals with loss of life is potentially serious, for everyone involved, and convictions on these charges give rise to some of the strictest penalties in the United States, so it is important that you let us begin building your defense as early in the case as possible. One rule of thumb is that it is easier to develop an effective defense strategy from the start than to attempt to build a successful appeal, so any time that you face serious penalties like those for manslaughter in Alabama you should have an expert on your side to fight for your rights.

Gravity of Manslaughter Charges

According to Alabama Code Section 13A-6-3, manslaughter can be defined two distinct ways. First, manslaughter can be a reckless act that results in someone’s death. This is a common manslaughter cause, and most people will see the charge based on this definition. Second, manslaughter can be a result of a crime of passion, but there are strict laws and statutes that govern when this can be applied to a situation. For instance:

  • The provocation—underlying cause—for the homicide must be acceptable by Alabama law, such as in the heat of passion.
  • The person provoked must not have been allowed sufficient time to calm down, defined by state law as a reasonable amount of time.

Keep in mind that manslaughter is not a misdemeanor charge, regardless of the particulars of the case or your criminal background. Even a first time offender will see a felony charge for manslaughter. Your best defense is to consult with us and develop an effective support for yourself, whether it is your innocence or a valid argument for your defense, such as self-defense or heat of passion.

Penalty for Manslaughter if Convicted

Do not think that you are safe if the manslaughter charge is your first offense, because this makes little or no difference other than the penalty possibly leaning toward the minimum end instead of the state maximum punishment. Even for a first offense, you could receive a minimum of three years in state prison, plus up to $30,000 in monetary fines. One of our goals is to keep you out of jail if at all possible, especially those with a clear criminal background and a family to support.

We work hard to achieve the ultimate goal in every case: an acquittal or dismissed/dropped charges. Sometimes, this just is not possible, so we shift our focus to as minimal of an intrusion into your life as possible. Our track record is excellent in this regard, with more than 90% of our clients receiving a far smaller penalty than they had anticipated at the outset.

Posted in Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Basic Miranda Rights

Most of us are aware of the basic Miranda rights, which apply in every state and are a very critical aspect in any criminal defense case. There are many different defenses that can be successful in a given case if the Miranda rights were not properly read, depending the criminal charge and the applicable laws in the state of Alabama. In order to be able to develop a successful defense in your case, it is essential that you understand your basic Miranda rights, so that you can tell us about anything that does not line up with the law as we build your defense strategy.

If you are not properly Mirandized, then any evidence gathered during the arrest and subsequent questioning, or evidence stemming from the questioning, may be suppressed at court. Suppressed evidence cannot be brought before the judge or jury during the trial phase, or used for or against you.

This article is strictly informative in nature, and should not be perceived as legal advice or counsel in any way.

  1. You have the right to remain silent. Once you waive the right to remain silent, you cannot revoke it and go back to being silent. As soon as you are arrested, you should contact us so that we can represent you during questioning. Do not answer any questions without professional legal counsel!
  2. Anything you say can be used against you at court. In a criminal case, this can be a positive or negative thing. For instance, if we counsel you to say something, then it will be something helpful or at least as minimally destructive as possible. If we advise you not to answer a question, the information will not be used against you in court, or to gather more evidence against you. What you did not say or do can be used against you in court too if you are not careful, such as a refusal to submit to sobriety or Breathalyzer testing during a DUI arrest.
  3. You have the right to an attorney. This is also one of your basic Constitutional rights in the United States, so it is just as important—if not more so—as the other three. You cannot be refused legal counsel based on any factor, from age to number of offenses or type of criminal charge.
  4. Finally, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no charge. A judge, who assigns a court-appointed attorney for your case if you cannot afford to retain one of your own, accomplishes this at a special hearing or during the arraignment part of the legal process. We work hard to keep our fees as low as possible so that you know you are getting quality legal counsel with a proven track record of success.

Contact us to schedule an initial consultation in your case, and begin building a criminal defense strategy that works better than expected in more than 90% of cases.

Posted in Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alabama Drug Possession Charges

Much like DUI charges in Alabama, possession of illegal drugs, prescription medicines that are not yours, or possession of items relating to the selling, growing, or distributing of drugs is a very serious offense. It can carry very hefty penalties if you are convicted, and these follow you for the rest of your life. Some of the toughest sentences in the state of Alabama deal with drugs, in an effort to curb drug problems and repeat offenses statewide.

The classification of the charge—misdemeanor or felony—depends on how much you have in your possession when you are arrested. The more you have, the higher the classification will become and the more serious the consequences if you are convicted. That is why it is so critical to begin building a successful defense in your case as soon as possible, to protect your rights and your future. Our track record with these types of cases is excellent, and we have seen much better than expected results in more than 90% of our cases over the last two decades.

Misdemeanor Possession Charge

There is only one illegal drug that can be classified as a misdemeanor if you are caught with it, and that is marijuana. If you are arrested for possession of any other controlled substance, even if it is a very small amount, it will be classified as a felony in the state of Alabama. The misdemeanor possession charge carries up to 12 months in jail and a monetary fine of up to two thousand dollars, and you could receive one or both penalties, depending on the situation.

The misdemeanor option for possession of marijuana is only available for a first offense, even if you have the same amount or a lesser one the second time around. Second offenses, no matter how minute, are going to be classified as felonies. The classification is harsh in order to discourage repeat offenses in the state, and most states crack down very hard on any type of drug charges for the same reason.

Felony Possession Charge

All other controlled substances, in whatever amount, are classified as felony charges in the state of Alabama. You face between one and ten years of jail time, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, and a fine of five thousand dollars, which may be imposed on top of the jail time rather than in place of it. Keep in mind that this is the type of charge that normally accompanies other charges, so the penalty could be in addition to other punishments.

The term of imprisonment and amount of fine increases dramatically if you are caught in possession of a large amount of the drug, especially the monetary fine amount. The minimum jail time becomes a period of no less than three years, and the fine jumps from five to fifty thousand dollars or more. This is because the possession charge becomes a drug trafficking charge with large amounts, even if you claim that it was intended for personal consumption.

Contact us to set up your initial consultation!

Posted in Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Personal Injury Lawsuit Facts in Alabama

Threatening to sue for a personal injury caused by a slip and fall accident, faulty or defective product, auto accident, or a similar problem is very common. However, most people do not realize that the vast majority of these cases are never heard in court, with nearly 80% being dismissed in the state of Alabama each year. Most of these are lost due to lack of evidence, statute of limitations violations, or documentation issues. That is why it is so important to have someone working to get things done the right way the first time, so you do not lose valuable time trying to figure things out for yourself.

Your time to file a personal injury claim is limited, and once the statute of limitations expires, you no longer have a claim. This does not imply that you did not have an injury, just that you did not file for compensation in time. The statute of limitations varies, but the state of Alabama gives only two years from the time of the accident to file the claim.

There are strict rules regarding testimony, documentation, and other forms of evidence in a personal injury case. Our team of professionals is aware of these restrictions, and we have more than two decades of combined experience dealing with Alabama and Georgia laws in this area. We fight to keep you out of the courtroom, settling many cases through settlement offers and similar agreements so you never have to worry about going to court.

Most people do not realize that personal injury lawsuits involve more than slip-and-fall issues. You are not limited in what kind of injury qualifies as a personal injury lawsuit. Whether your injury was caused by someone’s careless act, a negligent action, automobile accident, big rig injury, motorcycle injury, medical malpractice, birth defect due to hospital or doctor error, animal bite, wrongful death, nursing home abuse or daycare abuse, defective product or recalled product problem, we are here to help you get what you deserve.

You are not limited to filing a claim only for yourself. You can also file a claim on behalf of your biological or adopted child, someone you are the legal guardian for, an adult who has given you power of attorney, or a loved one who died due to one of the above mentioned issues without establishing next of kin or power of attorney, such as a parent, brother, sister, or someone similar. If you think you have a case, call us right away to discuss the situation so we can tell you if your case should be brought to a judge for consideration.

Do not assume that your case is not serious enough to consider compensation! Your injuries are never too minor to be considered worthy of compensation if they are creating medical bills and other debt. Schedule your initial consultation with Hand and Associates as soon as possible, and let us help you decide what is best for your situation and your injury.

Posted in Personal Injury | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding Local Drug Laws

Alabama and Georgia drug laws can be very confusing, especially if you have never been arrested for any type of drug-related crime before. Even for repeat offenders, those who have already been convicted, understanding local drug laws can be impossible without some help from a professional attorney in the area, one who is familiar with Alabama’s and Georgia’s policies regarding drugs. This is true whether your charge has to do with a prescription drug, illegal drugs, or any drug-related offense.

Prescription Drug Charges

There are many different charges that can stem from prescription drugs. You could be facing years in prison for even a first offense with some of these serious charges, so it is in your best interests to have someone on your side fighting to protect your rights and your future. Some of the most common prescription drugs charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Possession
  • Small scale
  • Large scale 
  • Distribution
  • Sale

It does not matter what drug you are dealing with, what matters is how much you have and whether you have a valid prescription for every pill, patch, or droplet. The larger the quantity, the greater your trouble will become, especially if you try to tackle the Alabama or Georgia legal system by yourself.

Illegal Drugs

Illegal drugs are becoming more of an issue with each passing year, and the laws and statutes that regulate illegal drugs are becoming more precise and detailed accordingly. These laws are very complex and involved, and something as simple as the weight of the drugs you were caught with can be the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge in these states. It is critical to have someone on your side when you fight drug charges, whether you were caught with marijuana, cocaine, meth, crack cocaine, or something different.

You could face very serious penalties if convicted of selling, trying to sell, possessing, trafficking, or cultivating any type of illegal drug, and prison is not out of the question even for the first conviction on your record. We have experience in dealing with the issues that arise from illegal drug charges, and will fight to get an acquittal, have charges dropped or reduced, or reach a plea agreement when necessary.

Contact Information

Hand and Associates

114 N. 8th St

Opelika, AL 36801

334-741-4077

Posted in Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alabama DUI Laws

Alabama’s DUI laws are very strict, even for first time offenders, although there are states that are more or less strict than this one in the United States. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of Alabama is a serious offense, and the state is starting to crack down harder on those convicted for DUI in order to attempt to curb the numbers of repeat offenders, fatalities due to DUI-related incidents, injuries and property damage due to DUI-accidents, and the cost of prosecuting these offenders.

Here is a brief rundown of what the state minimum punishment for a DUI conviction is, but remember that every case is different and this should never be constituted as legal advice. Keep in mind that these penalties are in addition to court costs, legal fees, SR-22 insurance fees, and are calculated without the addition of any aggravating factors (such as having a minor in the car, property damage, injuries, and so on).

First-Time Offender With Clear Criminal History

Expect up to 12 months in jail maximum, or up to $1200 in fines. Sometimes both penalties are enforced, depending on the situation and individual. Expect to lose driving privileges for at least three months in addition to any other penalties. Even a first time conviction will give rise to mandatory alcohol education or rehab in Alabama.

Second-Time Offender (Within 5 Years)

You could spend up to 12 months in jail, with a state minimum of five days, and may be forced to spend more than five thousand dollars to pay mandatory fines. There is also a one-month minimum community service requirement for a second offense, in addition to a loss of driving privileges for at least a year and mandatory rehab.

Third-Time Offender (Within 5 Years of 1st)

The minimum amount of jail time for the third conviction is two months, but you could spend up to 12 months, depending on the case. The fine doubles for the third offense, so you may have to pay ten thousand dollars in fines in order to close the case. You also lose your right to drive for a minimum of three years and become obligated to take alcohol education or rehab classes.

Fourth-Time Offender (Within 5 Years of 1st)

A fourth conviction for DUI in Alabama is classified as a felony offense, while the first three are misdemeanors on your permanent record. The fourth offense leads to a minimum of 12 months and one day in jail, with a maximum of ten years depending on the circumstances. The minimum fine is more than four thousand dollars, up to more than ten thousand in more extreme cases. Mandatory alcohol education and rehab classes are usually ordered in these cases as well.

Contact us as soon as possible to begin building a successful DUI defense in your case!

Posted in Criminal Law, DUI Defense | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Truck Injuries

Any accident involving an eighteen-wheeler is a terrifying experience, and these horrendous accidents can lead to disfiguring injuries—even fatalities—that can change your life, or the life of someone you love, forever. We have nearly two decades of experience dealing with this type of case, and are licensed to practice law in both Georgia and Alabama. It is important to get the ball rolling as soon as possible on these claims, so that you do not miss your opportunity to file a claim and get the compensation that you deserve.

The Gravity of a Truck Accident

We have all seen these massive trucks rolling by us on the road, and some have even experienced the annoyance of waiting for one to turn since they often block an entire two- to four-lane roadway. But have you ever stopped to think about what a big rig would do to your vehicle, and your body, if it were to hit you? The results can be catastrophic in some cases, and almost always devastating.

More than three thousand people were killed last year in accidents involving eighteen-wheelers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, often called NHTSA for short. Sadly, more often than not, it is not the driver of the truck included in this statistic; it is the men, women, and children in the other vehicle who suffer the most by far. There are just no passenger vehicles made to withstand the impact of a tractor-trailer going at even an average rate of speed. 

Who We Deal With

The driver is only one of several people that are considered at fault in these types of accidents, and we understand this and are ready to deal with the others that will be involved. We meet with the driver, truck owner, insurance companies, mechanics, eyewitnesses, law enforcement individuals, and other key individuals who may have seen something important, and keep you informed of what is going on each step of the way. Your injury, or the injury to your family member, takes up enough of your time, so we do the hard work of developing the case for you, and you can check the status of your case to see how we are progressing at any given time.

The evidence can be very confusing, from doctor’s paperwork to insurance claims, and we are your mediator between the legal system and getting the money that you deserve. Do not try to tackle the legal system and the insurance people without someone on your side, fighting for your right to compensation.

Contact Information

Contact us as soon as possible to set up your initial consultation, check the status of your case, get information about the law in Alabama and Georgia, and reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company.

Hand and Associates

334-741-4077

A Short Video About Hand and Associates

Posted in Personal Injury | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment