Fraud amounts to the false representation of material facts with the intent to deceive another person into engaging in an action that leaves that person harmed. Fraud charges are very serious but proofing that the fraud has been committed can be difficult to prove. Three are several defense strategies available that can cause such charges to be dropped or lessened. Working closely with an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney will allow you to explore your legal options and bring your case’s to a favorable resolution.
A Matter of Degree
Not every untrue statement or other untrue representation is fraudulent. Salespeople, for example, often sing the praises of the merchandise they sell and have a tendency to do so well beyond the boundaries of actual fact. If that salesperson, however, is simply sharing their belief in the product (even if that belief isn’t necessarily backed up by facts), it’s generally considered puffery and is simply a part of advertising and sales (usually).
Further, the law draws a distinction between fraud and negligent misrepresentation. A negligent misrepresentation refers to a false statement or another form of representation that the speaker makes when they have no reasonable means of knowing whether the statement is true or not. The speaker’s intention isn’t to lie, necessarily, but the statement in question isn’t based on facts that the speaker can reasonably be expected to know. One important defense strategy for fraud charges is demonstrating a decreased level of intention or absence of knowledge regarding the matter the fraud charge concerns.
Each Element of Fraud Must Be Present
In order to be convicted of fraud, every element of the charge must be present and verifiable. If your defense attorney can clearly demonstrate that one of the following elements is not present in your case, your fraud charges could be dropped entirely:
● You made a false statement about material facts.
● You knew the statement was untrue when you made it.
● You intended to deceive the person who was affected by the alleged fraud.
● The person who was affected by the alleged fraud relied upon your false statement of fact.
● Because of their reasonable reliance on your false statement of fact, the person suffered harm.
If any of these elements aren’t clearly identifiable in your fraud charge, it will significantly bolster your defense. If you can show that you had no reasonable way of knowing whether the statement you made was true or not, for example, the fraud charges should not apply.
If you’re facing fraud charges, bringing your most robust defense is crucial. There are a variety of defense tactics that your skilled criminal defense attorney will explore with you, including the following:
● Mistaken Identity – Your accuser may simply have accused the wrong person. It happens more often than most people realize.
● Insufficient Evidence – The prosecution may not have the level of evidence necessary to clearly demonstrate that every element of fraud is evident in your case.
● Lack of Intention – For you to have frauded someone, you must have intended to do so. If the prosecution can’t prove the criminal intent was present, their case against you will be weakened.
● Entrapment – Entrapment refers to being induced or persuaded by a police officer (who may be undercover) to commit a crime that is later used against you. If you can prove entrapment (via a fair preponderance of evidence), it amounts to a complete defense against the charge of fraud.
● False Allegations – False allegations refer to charges that are brought falsely in the first place (charges that your accuser knows aren’t true). If your defense can demonstrate that the charges made against you are false, they will be dropped.
Every fraud charge is based on a unique set of circumstances; as such, every defense strategy is tailored specifically for the case at hand.
The Time to Contact an Experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Is Now
If you’re facing fraud charges, effecting your strongest defense is imperative to ensuring your brightest future. The dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller in Minneapolis understand how difficult it is to face legal charges that can alter the course of your life. As such, they are committed to skillfully fighting for your case’s best possible resolution – whether that means having the charges dropped or lessened, or moving forward with a robust defense to prevail at trial. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 612.440.3212 today.