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Criminal Law for Business Owners 101 - Finnegan Pierson - Blog

Criminal Law for Business Owners 101

As much as you would like to believe that you have fully screened and vetted each employee working for your company, the sad reality is that people can fail you. No matter what kind of rigorous application or training process you followed, there may come a time when you have an employee that is charged with a crime. However, your business could also come under attack or threat of legal action as you deal with copyrights and liabilities. A criminal defense lawyer is one of those decisions that is a must-have, no matter how far-fetched the idea may seem.

Knowing the Legal System

The first thing legal experts recommend that you know about business law is the differences between the State system and the Federal legal system. Within each of these branches are the differences between being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. While there are many resources on the web that can give you a basic overview of these categories, some states have such a complex list of regulations and applications that it is better to consult with a licensed attorney in your state for the most accurate information. As your business may operate in multiple locations, you need to select a group like Rosenthal & Wadas PLLC that can operate in different counties. Never just assume the information you find on the web is accurate for the situation at hand.

Knowing Your Rights

As a business owner, you feel that you have the right to terminate an employee that has been arrested and charged with a crime. Depending on the nature of the charges, you may be able to let the person go if the crime was related to their position with the company. However, there are many considerations that could fall under discrimination if you are hasty in terminating an employee. A criminal defense lawyer can help you work through possible scenarios, as well as whether or not you have to wait until an employee is convicted of a crime before making a move. The term “conviction” can be misleading, as some cases may have a result termed “withheld judgment” or “deferred prosecution.” A business owner must understand all legal limits, including those in gray areas.  

Knowing Your Exposure

If you have to retain the employee or if you choose too, there may be certain implications that you both suffer. Consider what will happen when either of you has prolonged absences due to court appearance or incarceration. What happens to the employee if a conviction suspends or revokes their DMV license or professional license. Though you may feel embarrassed or fearful over what has happened or the trial that is coming, you cannot display a knee-jerk reaction. Consulting with an attorney makes it easier to know what is coming next. It gives you time to speak with your marketing team and legal counsel about damage control.

Know the Limits of Counsel

You may have the best criminal defense lawyer working for you, but that won’t guarantee a successful day in court. If your business or employee is found guilty of the charges, it isn’t the fault of your counsel. Though the job is to have a verdict issued in your favor, the extent of the evidence or circumstances may find that a lesser punishment is still considered a favorable verdict. (Especially when compared to a potential alternative).

Know the Benefits of Insurance

There are insurance plans that can help you with the costs of litigation and potentially court-ordered settlements. An insurance plan needs to be in place before an incident occurs, so check with your insurance company about extending your plan to include legal coverage. There are different crimes and situations that can be covered, you will want a policy tailored to your exposures.

Criminal law is complex, and you do not want to be caught in a situation you can’t handle. Keep a criminal defense lawyer on retainer and immediately make a phone call when you or an employee is charged with a crime.

Publish Date: April 7, 2020 2:27 PM

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