What is overcriminalization?

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2022 | Firm News

Federal criminal charges, such as fraud, are complex white-collar crimes, and facing a fraud charge can be a stressful and terrifying experience.

The federal criminal code is chock full of numerous federal crimes. This is in addition to the complicated web of federal regulations that New York residents working in the financial or other professional industries must follow.

It is impossible to know all the different types of federal crimes out there, and prosecutors count on this.

These excessive laws lead to overcriminalization

Overcriminalization is a term that has been referred to as an addiction to criminalization, or an abuse of the criminal justice system, designed to fully punish someone for every alleged crime.

You have probably heard stories in the news about prosecutors overcharging in different cases. This is an example of overcriminalization.

Sometimes, overcharging works against prosecutors, because they end up charging people with crimes, such as fraud, that they do not have enough evidence to prove. The charges then ultimately end up being dismissed, or the defendant is found not guilty at trial.

Overcriminalization clogs the court system and costs you money

However, there are many negative consequences of overcriminalization. The constant pursuit of criminal charges backs up our court system and causes incarceration rates to soar, all at taxpayers’ expense.

Overcriminalization also gives prosecutors more power over defendants. The more crimes a person is charged with, the less likely they are to want to go to trial, even if they are innocent.

The risk of being found guilty of all the charges and facing maximum penalties is too high. Defendants usually end up taking a plea deal to avoid a potentially harsher punishment.

This disturbing trend of overcriminalization is why it is important to work with a criminal defense attorney from the beginning. An attorney can protect your rights and help you mount a strong criminal defense.