Historically, “blue collar” crime was any criminal act performed by civilians of lower economic and social stature, whereas “white collar” crimes were often associated with wealthier individuals residing in the upper echelon of America’s social and economic structure. Today, “white collar crime” usually means crimes alleged to be committed by the business classes, the professional classes, or the political classes in today’s society, AND usually involve large sums of money.
For example, an ironworker who fraudulently adds time he never worked to his timecard could be accused of petty fraud, theft, or larceny; a CEO who ‘cooks the books’ to get a better stock performance may be accused of securities fraud. Whereas the former would be tried in a North Carolina state criminal court, the latter would be prosecuted in Federal court..
Both white and blue collar crimes have serious implications if an indictment is handed down.
Common Blue Collar Crimes
Many blue collar crimes are committed to achieve white collar status, although usually on a much smaller scale. In neighborhoods, cities, and rural communities where opportunities for advancement or achieving higher incomes is stifled by lack of opportunity, crimes like burglary, fraud, forgery and similar often occur. “Blue collar” crime is also associated with crimes of violence such as robbery, assault, murder, sex offenses, and smaller drug offenses. These crimes of violence are not usually prosecuted in Federal Court unless tied to a specific Federal crime.
Whichever path an individual enters the criminal justice system, it can be difficult to exit, and can create a perpetual revolving door of felonious activity and criminal punishments.
White Collar Crime and Corruption
Crimes committed by higher earning workers – mostly in corporate settings – have both different motivations and similar motivations to Blue collar offenders. Instead of trying to achieve white-collar status, multimillion-dollar earners who get charged with financial crimes simply find themselves wanting more. Maybe an individual was passed up for promotion and wanted to retaliate by printing extra paychecks over several years; or, maybe a CEO was demoted and decided to wire themselves money before losing access to corporate bank accounts.
Corruption is another motivator for workers to commit white collar crimes. Political parties may promise certain ‘perks’ in exchange for privilege or prestige. Maybe an anti-government organization made promises in exchange for monetary contribution to their cause. Some people are attracted to the corrupt lifestyle and use their position of power to help others corruptly achieve goals.
It is always difficult to ascribe specific motivations for any type of crime, but it usually involves taking something that is not theirs, whether by violence or by deceit.The main difference between white collar crimes and blue collar crimes in America comes down to where the crime is committed, and whether the State or Federal authorities file criminal charges. Note that federal prosecutors can charge persons in some but not all situations, much like all North Carolina state prosecutors can charge in some but not all situations.
Attorneys Fight for Justice Regardless of the Alleged Crime
Persons who retain competent counsel will be afforded advantages of representation regardless of the alleged crime committed. There is no difference in an attorney’s desire, zeal, or enthusiasm in defending blue or white collar crimes; each type has its own challenges, its merits, and its potential outcomes. The most important thing to remember is that you are innocent until proven otherwise, and should not be discouraged by investigators doing their job unless their investigation violates your constitutional or statutory rights.
Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo offers experienced, skillful, and knowledgeable representation in many major cases involving white collar and blue collar crimes. Do not fight your criminal charges alone; we will fight with you.
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