Common Embezzlement Defenses an Attorney May Use in Your Case

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “I was found not guilty of a charge, buy my record still shows the charge. What is going on?”


Embezzlement is a form of securities fraud. It is widely known as a ‘white-collar’ crime. The State of North Carolina can charge someone with embezzlement if it believes he or she stole money for personal gain while in a position of authority. The most common example of embezzlement occurs when an employee misappropriates funds that belong to his or her employer.

White-collar-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x223Penalties for embezzlement may include fines, court costs, and jail time. Courts also expect you to pay restitution to the victim. However, you are innocent until proven guilty. You and your North Carolina embezzlement lawyer can devise strategies to provide the best defense possible.

Here are a few ways in which your attorney may defend your case:


Insufficient Evidence

There must be direct evidence that you embezzled money from your employer. The burden of proof rests on the shoulders of your accuser. Without having irrefutable proof, a jury cannot find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state lacks sufficient evidence against you, the charges against you may be dropped altogether.


Operating Under Duress

Duress is a legal term that describes an instance in which someone commits an unlawful act due to the influence of an external threat. It also implies that the person would not have committed the action if the threat had not existed. How does this apply to embezzlement?


A duress defense works well for individuals who felt pressure to embezzle under authority and control of management. In this situation, your attorney could argue that you were under duress because you felt like you might lose your job. A duress defense may not work well for financial hardship or drug addiction.


No Intent to Commit a Crime

A primary tenet of an embezzlement case against you is the state’s ability to prove that you intended to commit a crime. It underscores the entire case in accusing you of fraudulent intent. In short, there must be irrefutable proof that you intentionally took the property from the people who trusted you with it.



Incapacity occurs when you did not have the mental faculties to make an informed choice at the time of the alleged embezzlement. As an example, if you were taking a medication that was improperly labeled as non-narcotic and deposited a check that did not belong to you, you may have a strong incapacity defense.


Hire a North Carolina Lawyer to Defend Your Case

Embezzlement charges are serious. No matter how high you think the odds are stacked against you, having an experienced and tough defense attorney on your side can provide the best possible outcome regarding your case. He or she can craft a defense and go to trial if need be.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand what our clients are going through when it comes to facing embezzlement charges. You can schedule a consultation with one of our Charlotte, NC embezzlement lawyers today if you find yourself facing criminal charges and need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.








The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.





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