Are There Defenses To Fraud In Florida?
Fraud involves a scheme meant to deceive another person or entity in order to cause harm or for the offender’s personal financial gain. Check fraud and credit card fraud are just two of the most common types of fraud charges laid in Orlando. To secure a conviction for a fraud charge, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused willingly and intentionally defrauded or engaged in misrepresentation to someone else, which resulted in harm to them.
In Florida, as in all other states, fraud can fall into the category of state crimes or federal crimes. As such, a conviction can carry serious criminal penalties, including a long sentence in federal prison. To avoid these consequences, it is important to work with an Orlando criminal defense lawyer that can build a strong case that can help you beat the charges. An attorney will likely use one of the common defenses to fraud found below.
Lack of Intent
Again, in order to prove a defendant is guilty of fraud, the prosecution has to establish they intended to deceive or harm another party. If they cannot do this, the defendant will be found innocent. For example, a friend of the defendant may give them a credit card to make a purchase for them. When making another purchase, the defendant may accidentally use their friend’s credit card instead of their own. Due to the fact that there was no intent, there cannot be a conviction for fraud.
Lack of Evidence
To prove their case and secure a conviction for fraud, the prosecution must also present enough evidence that backs up their argument. When they do not have the appropriate evidence, they cannot prove their case and so, this can be used as a defense to fraud.
Mistaken identity is a defense to many criminal offenses, but it is even more commonly used in cases involving fraud. Today, a lot of fraud takes place online, which makes it very easy to identify the wrong person by mistake.
Statements Made that were Non-Fraudulent
Not every inaccurate or false statement rises to the level of fraud. In order for a statement to be considered fraudulent, it must contradict an existing fact. For example, a person may claim that they were not in a specific place when they were. That is a fraudulent statement. However, if someone made a promise they would fulfill in the future, or gave an opinion, these are not fraudulent statements and cannot be used against a person facing charges of fraud.
If a law enforcement or government official coerces someone into committing a crime they would have not otherwise committed, that is entrapment. Entrapment is a largely misunderstood defense. Simply being presented with an opportunity to commit a crime is not enough to constitute entrapment. The offense must have been something the defendant would not have done on their own.
Our Fraud Lawyers in Orlando Know the Defenses for Your Case
If you or someone you love has been accused of fraud, our Orlando fraud attorneys can help you avoid the serious criminal penalties associated with a conviction. At O’Mara Law Group, our knowledgeable lawyers will listen to your side of the story, thoroughly review the facts of your case, and determine which defense is most appropriate. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.