What Is the Difference Between Street Crime and White Collar Crime?

White collar crime and street crime — what’s the difference?

You’ve probably heard the terms street crime and white collar crime before, and unless you’ve had a reason to, you may not understand the distinctions between these two categories of crime. 

They are different from one another, both in the way that they’re defined, and often in the way that they are prosecuted. Let’s explore those differences so you get a clearer understanding of how the law evaluates the two. 

Street Crime — Street crime is an incredibly broad category, and can be defined as a criminal offense that takes place in the public sphere. 

Examples of street crime include:

  • Vandalism
  • Drug dealing
  • Theft
  • Prostitution
  • Car theft

The list doesn’t stop there. Street crimes can also include more violent crimes, like rape, homicide, assault — even arson, human trafficking, and hate crimes. 

Essentially, just about any property or violent crimes committed in a public or private space where direct human interaction may occur could be considered a street crime by the broad boundaries of the definition. 

White collar crime, on the other hand, tends to be quite a bit different in practice. 

White Collar Crime — White collar crime, sometimes also referred to as corporate crime, tends to be non-violent in nature, and often focuses on financial crimes, corruption, and other illegal activities typically conducted by corporate representatives or public/government officials. 

Examples of white collar crime include:

  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Wire fraud
  • Pubic corruption
  • Tax evasion
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Cybercrimes
  • Racketeering
  • Insider trading
  • Ponzi schemes

Though there are still victims affected by white collar criminal activity, the law looks at these crimes differently, focusing on the techniques, intent, and degree of human contact between perpetrator and victim when determining charges. 

No matter what type of crime you’ve been accused of, it’s important that you keep your cool and act cautiously but quickly when taking your next steps. 

I’ve been accused of a crime. What should I do?

Stay calm

First, stay calm. We understand that is probably one of the most shocking and stressful moments of your life. Take a deep breath and clear your head. Respectfully ask the authorities that you’d like to make your legally protected phone call, and call your attorney. 

Stay quiet

If you’re like many people, you’re going to want to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of the situation that you’ve found yourself in. 

Remember this: The police are here to press charges against you. The prosecuting attorney’s goal is to prosecute you. Despite whatever carrot they might be dangling in front of you, don’t take the bait. 

Call your attorney. Stay quiet. Stay respectul. Wait for your attorney to arrive to provide you with legal advice. 

Stay focused

Criminal charges aren’t typically resolved in a 24-hour period. If you’re in a situation where, for instance, you’ve made bail, then you might be tempted to resume certain aspects of your social and professional life, all of which could potentially jeopardize your attorney’s ability to create an effective defense against the prosecution. 

You’re under a level of scrutiny you’ve probably never experienced before, and in order for your attorney to defend you as effectively as possible, you’ll need to follow their advice in terms of where you go, what you do, and who you speak with. 

It might be uncomfortable, but the smaller the circle you inhabit, the more you can control the narrative and environment surrounding your case. 

You might be tempted to make a statement about your case on social media. Don’t.

You might be tempted to make a statement to your colleagues about your case. Don’t.

You might be tempted to go out in public in order to blow off some steam. Again, don’t.

Perception has a way of distorting reality, and if certain words, images, videos, or eyewitness testimony were to be used out of context with the intent to strengthen the narrative of guilt being lodged against you, it could potentially jeopardize your freedom. 

How do I protect my freedom if I’ve been accused of a crime?

Hire an attorney. Hire an attorney that has a reputation for passionately defending their clients in court, and for delivering them the best possible outcomes they can achieve. Since 1972, that’s precisely what we’ve done for everyone we’ve represented in the state of New Jersey. 

We’d be proud to serve you. Contact us TODAY for your confidential consultation