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White Collar Crime

White collar crime doesn’t just boil down to a murder mystery involving a suit. Rather, white collar crime is non-violent and refers to financial crimes such as fraud, bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, that are committed by businesses and governments.

What Does White Collar Crime Law Involve?

Lawyers who specialize in white-collar crime will see themselves defending clients through an investigation, including civil and criminal litigation. Clients typically range from large corporations and banks, to individuals prominent in business and politics.

Lawyers will need to be in-the-know about regulations affecting these types of organizations, as well as having a vast and in-depth knowledge surrounding the business operations of their clients. Only then can they come up with strategies and resolutions.

Lawyers in this area can offer their clients top-notch legal advice on how to comply with complex governmental legislation and with investigations carried out by enforcement agencies. Lawyers will assist the client in resolving critical concerns, which can include disclosing potentially jeopardizing findings or waiving privileges. Obviously, the main aim is always to resolve issues before charges are brought and to avoid future liability.

Break It Down For Me A Little Bit…

White collar crime is the term associated with a range of different crimes.

Fraud boils down to deceiving someone for monetary gain. A common type of white-collar fraud is securities fraud, which comes in all shapes and sizes. However, ‘insider trading’ is where someone with a nugget of confidential inside knowledge about a company (such as upcoming earnings) trades on that information. Therefore, if an earnings report is set to hurt the company and an executive sells their stocks before this is made public, this would be securities fraud. Another type of white-collar fraud is where someone or a company gains money based on knowingly false information, such as prospects or finances.

Embezzlement is where money is improperly taken from someone whom you owe some type of duty. For example, lawyers who improperly use client funds can be guilty of embezzlement.

Tax evasion is also a common white-collar crime. This one does exactly what it says on the tin and involves an individual or company evading taxes. They could transfer properties in order to avoid tax, or they could knowingly provide false information to the taxman.

Finally, money laundering is the means of filtering illegally obtained money through transactions to make it appear legitimate. Just think about Walter White’s car wash, where he funnels illegal drug money through his bonnet and windscreen shining side-business.

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What is the sentence for theft?

In reference to Section 334(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada, everyone who commits theft where the value of what is stolen does not exceed $5,000, is guilty of an offence which is punishable on summary conviction.

A very common example of this is where a shoplifter possesses or moves an item from a store, perhaps hiding it in their bag or jacket, and upon detainment is not found to have the money to pay for the item or otherwise no intent to legally obtain the item. This may also take place where a shoplifter moves an item beyond the boundaries where a sale would take place, for example they move it outside of a store without taking legal possession of the object, unless they were given permission to do so.

In most cases, those who commit retail theft or shoplifting will be faced with a variety of sentencing orders, such as probation with a condition to not return to the establishment where the theft occurred, pay a fine, complete a program designed to prevent further theft. There is the possibility for a diversion program if the offense is minor, and thus it is important to seek counsel even when dealing with a minor theft charge because of the ability of a lawyer to highlight any mitigating factors and resolve the charge in the best way possible.

 

Theft over $5,000

Although it is rather rare that someone commits a crime of theft in stealing property which is valued at over $5,000, the most common example is that of embezzlement, stealing from an employer / breach of trust but also many car thefts fall into this category.

Anyone who commits a theft where the value of the property is valued at more than $5,000 will be charged with an indictable offence which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment (s. 334(a), Criminal Code). There are certain cases which may result in an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of 2 years, such as those with special provisions for punishment.

The way this charge will be pursued is contingent on a variety of factors regarding who the offender is, the characteristics of the offence, whether there has been an effort to provide restitution, for example.
Because a theft over $5,000 charge carries with it a potentially very serious outcome, it is very important to consult a criminal lawyer that has experience with this type of charge in order to best analyze factors which may mitigate the potential sentence for this offence.

Handling your charge

There are a variety of possible defences and mitigating circumstances when facing a charge for a theft-related offence. Although many types of theft carry with them potentially lengthy terms of imprisonment, there are often ways to improve your outlook when resolving your charge. Only an experienced criminal defence lawyer will be able to evaluate factors that might prevent a finding of guilt when dealing directly with Crown prosecution in order to help you make the decision that is right for you. Often it is a good idea to show cooperation or an attempt to make restitution.

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How does it work when you use a bail bondsman?

For parents or friends who have had to bail a loved one out of jail, one of the more common questions they ask me is, “Will I be able to get my bail money back?” It’s a great question, and there isn’t always a straight answer. We’ll explain how the process works in this blog.

Bail vs. Bond

Before we answer the question, it’s important to understand the distinction between bail and bond, and how they related to one another.

Bail – Bail is money paid to the court system to secure your release from jail and it guarantees you’ll attend all future case proceedings. If bail is set at $1,000, you’ll have to pay $1,000 to be released from jail.

Bond – A bond is an item offered by a bonding company that holds the bonding agent responsible for the person in custody to attend all future court hearings. A bond can be acquired for much less, typically 10 percent of the bail amount. So if bail is set at $1,000, a bond that can get you out of jail would cost around $100.

Looking at those two statements, you’re probably thinking “Why wouldn’t everyone just go the bond route?” To answer that question, we have to dig a little deeper.

Getting Bail Money Back

One of the biggest differences between bail and bonds, besides how much you need to “post” in order to be released, is what you can get back at the end of trial. With bail, if the charges are dropped or you are found innocent, your bail money will be returned to you. That said, some of the bail money can be applied to court fees, even if the charges are dropped. If you posted bail for someone else, and the charges were ultimately dropped, you may want to let the defendant’s attorney know about who posted bail, as they may be able to insure court costs are paid by the defendant and not your original bail posting, however this can’t be guaranteed. Similarly, if the defendant is found guilty, the bail amount may go towards court fees.

Bond, on the other hand, will not be returned to the defendant, regardless of the case’s outcome. So if you paid $100 to a bonding company to secure your release from a situation where bail was set at $1,000, that $100 is gone and it will not be applied to court fees. Again, this may seem like the best route if you believe the charges against you are going to hold up, but oftentimes a bond requires more than just 10 percent of your bail amount. Bond companies may require that you put down some sort of collateral to ensure you go to court, because they are the one on the line for the full $1,000 if you fail to show. If you have a car, the bond company may require that you put that up as collateral in the event that you skip town or a court appearance. It’s important to note that you won’t forfeit this property if you show up to all appearances and are found guilty – only if you skip court.

So if you believe you were wrongly arrested or you stand a good chance to beat the charges, bail is probably your best route to go. If the bail amount is set high and it’s better to forfeit 10 percent of the amount to keep other affairs in order (think work, childcare or other issues that could be negatively affected by your presence in jail while awaiting trial) then bond might be best for you.

In the end, the only way to guarantee that you’ll get a portion of your bail back is if the defendant beats the charges. You can also come to an agreement with the defendant that you’ll post bail or bond with the understanding that they will pay you back, but that’s between those two parties, and it might not be worth the cost to take them to court if they fail to pay, even if you draw up a contract.

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Gun and Gangs Lawyer in Mississauga

Gang crimes are a central focus of police activity. In Ontario, the Crown has designated special teams of prosecutors for these offences. In order to protect yourself and your legal and personal interests, you need the services of a criminal defense lawyer with experience and legal skill, so that you have the same resources as do those working against you.

We are a dedicated team of Mississauga criminal defense lawyers with decades of experience successfully defending clients accused of serious and complex offences. We provide the best defense possible to each of our clients.

Strong Legal Counsel For Gang Crimes

As courtroom lawyers with extensive experience with criminal trials, the guns and gangs  lawyers in Mississauga offer:

  • Knowledge of the Charter and its use in a successful defense argument
  • Vigorous cross-examination of police
  • Detailed investigation of evidence

Criminal charges related to gang activity may include conspiracy, weapons offences and drug charges. Each one of these offences carries hefty penalties and requires a vigorous defense. Our criminal defense counsel can give you the informed defense you need.

Lawyers For Gun Crime Defense In Mississauga

Our firm is dedicated to seeking the best result possible in your case. We regularly take on complex and high-stakes cases and give the high-quality legal advice and counsel our clients need.

To schedule a consultation with our guns and gangs lawyers in Mississauga providing defense against gun and gang charges, call us to schedule a consultation. The firm can also be contacted online.

Reverse Bail:

Parliament has changed the law of bail so in addition to the standards grounds to deny bail, the bail scheme will be further toughened by requiring the court to specifically consider: (a) the fact that a firearm was allegedly used in the commission of the offence or (b) the fact that the accused faces a minimum penalty of three-years or more imprisonment when they are deciding whether the accused should be released or detained until the trial.

Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences for Offenses Involving a Firearm:

There are already mandatory minimum jail sentences for many offenses in the Criminal Code.  Parliament has changed the law so that the use of a firearm in committing a serious offence will be subject to a significant sentence. If, for example, an offence is gang-related, or if a restricted or prohibited firearm such as a handgun is used, the minimum penalty will be:

  • 5 years on a first offence
  • 7 years if the accused has one prior conviction involving the use of a firearm to commit an offence
  • 10 years if the accused has more than one prior conviction for using a firearm to commit an offence

Other firearm-related offences, such as firearms trafficking and smuggling, or the new offence of robbery where a firearm is stolen, will also be subject to higher escalating minimum penalties:

  • 3 years on a first offence
  • 5 years if the accused has a serious prior firearm-related conviction

Where there is a minimum jail sentence, there is no chance for a conditional sentence (house arrest).

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Gun and Gangs Lawyer in Mississauga

Gang crimes are a central focus of police activity. In Ontario, the Crown has designated special teams of prosecutors for these offences. In order to protect yourself and your legal and personal interests, you need the services of a criminal defence lawyer with experience and legal skill, so that you have the same resources as do those working against you.

We are a dedicated team of Toronto criminal defence lawyers with decades of experience successfully defending clients accused of serious and complex offences. We provide the best defence possible to each of our clients.

Strong Legal Counsel For Gang Crimes

As courtroom lawyers with extensive experience with criminal trials, the guns and gangs  lawyers in Mississauga offer:

  • Knowledge of the Charter and its use in a successful defence argument
  • Vigorous cross-examination of police
  • Detailed investigation of evidence

Criminal charges related to gang activity may include conspiracy, weapons offences and drug charges. Each one of these offences carries hefty penalties and requires a vigorous defence. Our criminal defence counsel can give you the informed defence you need.

Lawyers For Gun Crime Defence In Brampton And The GTA

Our firm is dedicated to seeking the best result possible in your case. We regularly take on complex and high-stakes cases and give the high-quality legal advice and counsel our clients need.

To schedule a consultation with our guns and gangs lawyers in Mississauga providing defence against gun and gang charges, call us to schedule a consultation. The firm can also be contacted online.

Reverse Bail:

Parliament has changed the law of bail so in addition to the standards grounds to deny bail, the bail scheme will be further toughened by requiring the court to specifically consider: (a) the fact that a firearm was allegedly used in the commission of the offence or (b) the fact that the accused faces a minimum penalty of three-years or more imprisonment when they are deciding whether the accused should be released or detained until the trial.

Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences for Offenses Involving a Firearm:

There are already mandatory minimum jail sentences for many offenses in the Criminal Code.  Parliament has changed the law so that the use of a firearm in committing a serious offence will be subject to a significant sentence. If, for example, an offence is gang-related, or if a restricted or prohibited firearm such as a handgun is used, the minimum penalty will be:

  • 5 years on a first offence
  • 7 years if the accused has one prior conviction involving the use of a firearm to commit an offence
  • 10 years if the accused has more than one prior conviction for using a firearm to commit an offence

Other firearm-related offences, such as firearms trafficking and smuggling, or the new offence of robbery where a firearm is stolen, will also be subject to higher escalating minimum penalties:

  • 3 years on a first offence
  • 5 years if the accused has a serious prior firearm-related conviction

Where there is a minimum jail sentence, there is no chance for a conditional sentence (house arrest).

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BAIL: GETTING OUT OF JAIL AFTER AN ARREST

A person’s first thought upon landing in jail is often how to get out—and fast. The usual way to do this is to post bail.

Bail is cash, a bond, or property that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the defendant doesn’t show up, the court may keep the bail and issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.

How Bail Is Set

Judges are responsible for setting bail. Because many people want to get out of jail immediately (instead of waiting for a day or longer to see a judge), most jails have standard bail schedules that specify bail amounts for common crimes. An arrested person can often get out of jail quickly by paying the amount set forth in the stationhouse bail schedule.

If a suspect wants to post bail but can’t afford the amount required by the bail schedule, the suspect can ask a judge to lower it. Depending on the state’s procedures, a request for lowered bail may be made either in a special bail hearing or when the suspect appears in court for the first time (usually called the arraignment).

SETTING BAIL BY ALGORITHM

In recent years, courts have started using math to inform decisions about pretrial release. In these jurisdictions, select information about the defendant is entered into a program and a score or recommendation comes out. These bail algorithms, which consider factors like age and criminal history, are supposed to assess the risk that the defendant will commit another crime or fail to appear in court.

Excessive?

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that bail not be excessive. This means that bail should not be used primarily to raise money for the government; it’s also not to be used to punish a person for being suspected of committing a crime. Remember: The primary purpose of bail is to allow the arrested person to remain free until convicted of a crime and at the same time ensure his or her return to court. (For information on what happens if the defendant doesn’t show up, see Bail Jumping.)

So much for theory. In fact, many judges set an impossibly high bail in particular types of cases, knowing that the high bail will effectively keep the suspect in jail until the case is over. (The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated that pretrial detention on the basis of dangerousness is not per se unconstitutional. (United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987).))

Conditions of Bail

Bailed-out suspects commonly must comply with “conditions of release.” If a suspect violates a condition, a judge may revoke bail and order the suspect re-arrested and returned to jail. Some bail conditions, such as a requirement that a suspect “obey all laws,” are common. Other conditions may reflect the crime for which a suspect was arrested. For example, a condition may order a domestic violence suspect not to contact the alleged victim.

Paying Bail

Bail can take any of the following forms:

  • cash or check for the full amount of the bail
  • property worth the full amount of the bail
  • a bond (that is, a guaranteed payment of the full bail amount), or
  • a waiver of payment on the condition that the defendant appear in court at the required time (commonly called release on one’s “own recognizance”).

A bond that costs 10% of the bail amount may sound like a good deal compared to posting cash bail, but buying a bond may cost more in the long run. If the full amount of the bail is paid, it will be refunded (less a small administrative fee) when the case is over and all required appearances have been made. In contrast, a bond seller’s fee is nonrefundable. In addition, the bond seller may require “collateral.” This means that the person who pays for the bail bond must also give the bond seller a financial interest in some of the person’s valuable property. The bond seller can cash in on this interest if the suspect fails to appear in court.

Getting Out of Jail Free

Sometimes people are released “on their own recognizance,” or “O.R.” A defendant released on O.R. must simply sign a promise to show up in court and is not required to post bail.

A defendant commonly requests release on his or her own recognizance at the first court appearance. If the judge denies the request, the defendant then asks for low bail.

In general, defendants who are released on O.R. have strong ties to the community, making them unlikely to flee. Factors that may convince a judge to grant an O.R. release include:

  • having family members (most likely parents, a spouse, or children) living in the community
  • having resided in the community for many years
  • being employed
  • having little or no past criminal record, or only criminal problems that were minor and occurred many years earlier, and
  • having been charged with previous crimes and having always appeared as required.

These kinds of factors may be relevant not only to O.R., but also to bail. (See How Judges Set Bail.)

Get Help

If you’re trying to get out of jail or have questions about bail/O.R. issues, enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who’s familiar with the local system. (You should always seek advice and representation from a lawyer when facing criminal charges.) A knowledgeable lawyer may be able to help arrange your release, and he or she can fully advise you of the applicable law in your state..

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DO YOU NEED A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER FOR DRUG ABUSE?

The majority of the public treatment centers for substance abuse in Canada are limited by budgets restraints. Most will struggle to meet the demand for help from the community. Like most services offered by our healthcare system, waiting is also the norm for the substance abuse treatment centers. Some waiting lists are more than 2 months long.

There is another option; the private residential treatment centers servicing Mississauga. To find the  private rehab center that fits your budget our professional referral counselor  can help. If you or someone you know needs help finding a private detox or drug treatment center call our referral addiction counselors for a free and confidential service.

Drug Addiction

In Mississauga or elsewhere, people with an addiction to street drugs, alcohol or prescription medications are doing so as a solution. There is some unwanted physical or emotional pain or discomfort. Mind altering substances bring temporary relief by masking the pain. When the drug wears off more drugs are needed to get the same high. The body becomes dependent and soon the person needs the substance just to get by.

The real underlying problem is a lack of a solution to deal with life’s problems. It has now been buried under months or years of substance abuse. The only way out of this situation for anyone in Mississauga or elsewhere in Ontario is to contact someone for help. We have worked with substance abuse for more than twenty years and know what drug rehabilitation is about. So you can stop your search for a Mississauga drug rehab program and give us a call today.

Which Drugs Are Considered Addictive?

Some drugs may be considered more addictive than others. Drugs that are commonly involved in heavy drug addiction include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine and crack cocaine
  • Methamphetamines and other stimulants
  • Various types of prescription drugs, which may lead to unique criminal activity such as prescription fraud
  • Synthetic drugs
  • Alcohol

Various other substances may be considered addictive drugs. State laws may vary regarding the way that drugs are classified

Is Drug Addiction a Defense to Some Crimes?

Generally speaking, being addicted to drugs or drug substances is not a defense to crimes. However, being under the influence of drugs can sometimes serve as a defense. This is often the case if the person is unable to form the requisite mental state for a crime due to their being under the influence of drugs. A common example of this is where a person is unable to control their volitions due to being under the influence of drugs.

Defenses involving drugs also work more in the defendant’s favor if they were consumed a drug substance without their knowledge (i.e., involuntary intoxication). This can happen for instance if the drugs were inserted into their food or drink without them being aware of it. In some crime cases, the judge may offer alternative sentencing options if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crime (such as diversion programs or rehabilitation programs). Another drug defense available to addicts is drug overdose immunity.

The presence of employees with substance use disorders in the workplace is a serious issue. Over 77% of illicit drug users are employed and the loss of productivity resulting from drug and alcohol abuse is significant. Alcoholism alone is responsible for 500 million lost work days each year. Alcohol and drugs know no social, economic or educational barriers, and legal professionals face unique stress. In fact, lawyers are almost twice as likely to struggle with alcohol abuse when compared to the general population!

It is evident from these statistics that people in the legal profession are at an elevated risk of experiencing substance use disorders. Consequently, they need to be proactive in reaching out and leaning on their support system before they feel overwhelmed and trapped.

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Drug addiction is a major community concern. Drug use and distribution is often related to other crimes and legal issues such as theft or violent crime. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you have any legal issues, questions, or concerns regarding drug addiction. Drug addiction in itself is a serious issue, but it can also compound certain types of criminal and legal issues. Your attorney can inform you of your legal options, and can also provide you with representation if you need to attend trial in court.

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WHAT IS THE BAIL PROCESS?

The last place anyone wants to find themselves is in a jail cell. And if you’re unlucky enough arrive in one your first concern is getting out as quickly as possible. But how? First you will need to be “booked,” or processed into police custody. Then you may have to post “bail,” a set amount of money you pay in exchange for your release.

This article provides an overview of the booking procedure and the bail and bonds process.

What Does Booking Mean?

If you’re placed under arrest, normally you will be taken into police custody and booked, or processed. During booking, officers will generally:

  • Record your personal information (name, date of birth, physical characteristics);
  • Record information about the alleged crime;
  • Record your fingerprints, and photographs;
  • Check for any criminal background;
  • Search your person and confiscates any personal property like keys, phone, or a purse (to be returned upon your release); and
  • Place you in a police station holding cell or local jail.

If you’ve been arrested for a minor offense, you might be given a written citation and released, after signing the citation and promising to appear in court at a later date. If not, you will go through the bail and bond procedure.

Arraignment and Own Recognizance Release

After booking, the next step is the arraignment, where you will be read the formal charges and be given an opportunity to arrange for your release. The main concern authorities have is that you show up for your future court dates. In certain cases, you may be eligible to be released on your own recognizance. This means you promise in writing to appear in court later on. A judge deciding whether to grant own recognizance release normally considers:

  • The seriousness of the crime;
  • Your criminal record, if any;
  • Whether you pose a danger to the community; and
  • Your ties to the community (whether you are a risk to flee).

If you are released on your own recognizance and fail to appear for your court date as scheduled, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

What is Bail?

In some cases, a written promise to appear in court isn’t enough, and the court will want a financial guarantee that you will appear in court. Bail is a process by which you pay a set amount of money to obtain your release from police custody. As part of your release, you promise to appear in court for all of your scheduled criminal proceedings. If you show up to court as promised, the bail amount will be returned. If not, you will be subject to arrest and you will forfeit the bail amount.

The bail proceedings can vary from court to court, but generally the court will have a bail hearing to decide whether to grant bail (in extreme cases a court can deny your release altogether) and, if so, what amount is appropriate. The court will have a bail hearing, during which it will consider:

  • Your physical and mental condition;
  • Your financial resources;
  • Your family ties;
  • Any history relating to drug and alcohol abuse;
  • Any criminal history;
  • Any previous record concerning appearance at court proceedings; and
  • The length of your residence in the community.

Along with the monetary bail determination, the court could also impose restrictions on your release like limiting your travel, enforcing a curfew, revoking gun ownership privileges, or requiring drug, alcohol, medical, or psychological testing or treatment.

Posting Bail and Bail Bond Agents

Once a court has set the amount of your bail, that amount, or a specified percentage, must be posted, or paid to the court. Generally you can pay in cash or an approved cash substitute, such as a money order or cashier’s check. Once you’ve posted bail, the court will issue a document or an order that shows you may be released.

If you can’t afford to post your own bail, you can contract a commercial bail bond agent (or bail bondsman) to pay and ensure bond. A bond agent will charge a nonrefundable fee, usually 10 to 20 percent of the total bail. In return, the bail bond agent agrees to pay the remaining amount to the court if you fail to appear for your court proceedings.

More Questions About Bail and Bonds? Contact a Lawyer

Finding yourself in jail and needing a bail and bond can be a scary experience. Posting bail, being released on your own recognizance, finding a bail bonds agent — the sheer amount of issues you will have to deal with can be overwhelming. If you’ve been arrested, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area to discuss your specific situation.

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Young Offender Institutions

What is a Young Offender Institution?

Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) are prisons for 15-21 year olds. They are run by the Prison Service as part of the prison estate as a whole.

YOIs are distinct from Secure Training Centres and Local Authority Secure Children’s Homes, which focus on different types of youth offenders and therefore have different staffing and accommodation specifications.

The core distinction is that Young Offender Institutions have a lower staff to offender ratio, reflecting the focus of these institutions on incarceration as opposed to rehabilitation and care. YOIs are also generally larger. Perhaps the best-known YOI in England is Feltham in west London.

Young offender wings also exist within adult prisons.

Background

Young Offender Institutions were introduced under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, but special centres for young offenders have existed since the 19th century.

The idea originated with the Gladstone Committee in 1895 as an attempt to reform young offenders. The first institution was opened in 1902 at Borstal Prison in Kent – and the name ‘borstal’ has become synonymous with the system.

The ‘Borstal Philosophy’ was based on the regimes of late 19th century and early 20th century public schools, advocating military-style discipline (including widespread corporal punishment) and emphasising work training and skills acquisition.

The Criminal Justice Act 1982 abolished the borstal system, replacing it with a network of youth custody centres.

Young Offender Institutions are today regulated by the Young Offender Institution Rules 2000, which are effectively the equivalent of the Prison Rules 1999 that apply to adult prisons in the UK.

In December 2007 a pilot scheme was launched which aimed to stop first-time young offenders going to court unnecessarily and prevent them from re-offending. Under the Youth Restorative Disposal (YRD) scheme, first-time offenders aged between 10 and 17 who had committed a low-level minor offence would have to explain their actions and apologise to their victim. The apology could be given in either oral or written form.

It was suggested the scheme would enable police to deal with minor cases more speedily and efficiently, allowing them to concentrate on more serious crime. The pilot, which was set to end in 2009, was to be followed by an evaluation to decide whether it should be rolled out nationally.

In December 2010 the Coalition government published a Green Paper entitled ‘Breaking the cycle: A public consultation on effective punishment, rehabilitation and sentencing of offenders.’ The paper sets out how the Ministry of Justice proposes to “break the destructive cycle of crime” and ensure offenders make amends to the victims or communities for harm they have caused. The consultation on the paper’s proposal closed in March 2011.

In its response published in June 2011, the Government stated that within the youth justice system it would end the current high level of central performance monitoring and develop a risk based monitoring programme centred on three key outcomes:

reducing the number of first time entrants to the youth justice system;
reducing reoffending;
and reducing custody numbers.

The Public Bodies Act provided for the functions of the Youth Justice Board to be transferred to a newly created Youth Justice Division in the Ministry of Justice.

Youth justice services would in future be locally determined and driven; they would maximise value for money, be publicly accountable through a Minister, and be lighter-touch. Underperforming Youth Offending Teams would be targeted, freeing up the best performing teams to provide greater opportunity to innovate.

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WHITE COLLAR CRIMES EXPLAINED

A white collar crime is a crime that is often committed by a professional that involves some type of fraud or deception that results in financial gain to the perpetrator or others. White collar crimes are serious offenses that must be taken seriously.

It is important to contact a lawyer as soon in the process as possible to help protect the defendant’s rights. Being aware of white collar crimes and their implications can aid in the defense.

Derivation of the Phrase “White Collar Crime”

Sociologist and criminology expert Edwin Sutherland first coined this term in a speech that he delivered in 1939. According to Sutherland, someone is more likely to commit a crime when he or she is surrounded by criminal behavior as observed by those around him or her. Sutherland’s belief is that white collar criminals should not be punished as harshly as other criminals. He based this belief on the notion that white collar criminals are typically considered less dangerous. They are believed to be less likely of recidivism. For these reasons, he lobbied for more lenient sentences for individuals convicted of these types of crimes.

Modern Definition

Today’s definition includes the traditional definition that incorporates crimes committed by business professionals through their chosen profession. White collar crimes also include fraud and embezzlement. They may include such crimes as wire fraud, mail fraud, insurance fraud, bankruptcy fraud, money laundering and bribery.

Characteristics of White Collar Criminals

This crime is dubbed as white collar due to the professional standing of the perpetrator. These individuals often have a respected position in the community, such as a money manager, financial planner, banker, accountant or similar field.

They often occupy a place of higher socioeconomic status than many criminal defendants. Due to this characteristic, these types of criminals often have the ability to pay more for their defense, which often results in greater outcomes for these defendants than for others who have to rely on overworked public defenders. Having a higher salary and income level often translates into being able to hire the best and most expensive lawyers who will zealously fight for their interests in court. In contrast, individuals who are part of a lower socioeconomic level may not be able to afford a private lawyer and may be appointed a lawyer.

Effects of White Collar Crimes

While white collar crimes may not result in the same type of physical injuries as other crimes may, they may still result in significant consequences. If the money cannot be recovered, a business may go out of business. Employees may be terminated to make up for the loss of business funds. Individuals may lose their life savings because the retirement funds that they had invested were tied up in a Ponzi scheme unbeknownst to them.

Potential Punishments

Many people believe that white collar crimes should not be punished as harshly as crimes committed by people that involve violence like burglary, mugging or robbery. However, as discussed above, the effects of white collar crimes are real and can be devastating in nature. This means that when white collar criminals are convicted that they often receive sentences as long as the sentences that violent offenders receive. Many drug crimes are prosecuted by federal prosecutors and so are many white collar crimes.

However, one significant difference that may exist between the punishments that white collar criminals receive and others receive is that the white collar criminal may be locked up in minimum-security prisons. In these prisons, criminals may have greater freedoms like access to cable television, the internet and the outside. Criminals in maximum security prisons are often subject to less safe prison environments.

A person’s status in the community and prior criminal record are often considered at sentencing, which may provide a basis to give a white collar criminal less time than a hardened criminal.

Legal Assistance

Individuals who are charged with white collar crimes may decide to contact a criminal defense lawyer experienced in this area of the law. He or she may be able to explain the defendant’s rights to him or her and get involved in the process well before any formal charges are filed. This may allow a criminal defense lawyer to negotiate an agreement with the prosecutor that may prevent charges from ever being filed, such as allowing the defendant to pay restitution to the victims. The punishments that a white collar criminal defendant can face are substantial. Federal prosecutors are often intimidating. A criminal defense lawyer can help protect the defendant’s rights.