Embezzlement is a white collar crime with long-term consequences; for example, you will find it difficult job positions that require trust if you have been convicted of embezzlement in the past. Therefore, if you have been charged with embezzlement, it may be in your best interest to have the charges downgraded to a different charge before starting your defense proper. Here are some of the routes you can take to get such a downgrade:
You Intended To Return the Asset
An embezzlement charge only holds if you use the asset for an intended purpose, converts it to your property or converts it to a different property that you then claim as yours. Therefore, you cannot be charged with embezzlement if you take temporary charge of another's person's property with the intention of returning it at a later date. You can still be charged with a crime, but it won't be embezzlement.
For example, if you "borrow" a neighbor's car to drive your sick spouse to the hospital, then your actions don't constitute embezzlement as long as you can prove you intended to return the car. However, if you hide your neighbor's Amazon deliveries with the intention of selling them, then you are likely to face embezzlement charges.
You Did Not Know That It Was a Crime
Secondly, you may also succeed in changing your embezzlement charges to different charges if you can prove that it wasn't your intention to convert or use it for an unintended purpose. This is because embezzlement requires intention; accidental possession or use of an item doesn't count. For example, if you are using a company car for personal use because you think it's permitted, then you are not engaging in embezzlement. This is different from, say, another person who starts registers a company' car as their own car to defraud the company.
You Were Not Entrusted With the Asset
In some places, you can only be accused of embezzlement if you were not entrusted with the asset you are being accused of embezzling. In such jurisdictions, you cannot be accused of embezzlement if you steal deliveries left on your neighbor's front door. However, you will be charged with embezzlement if your neighbor asks you to accept a delivery on their behalf, and you end up using the delivered items as your own.
The best way to handle your embezzlement charges, or any criminal charges for that matter, is to consult a criminal defense law office like Cooper & Bayless PA.