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Criminal Law Blog

Pleas and Defenses for Embezzlement

July 20, 2015

In an embezzlement case, the accused has limited pleas and defenses available from the prosecution. However, the available defenses and pleas include: entrapment, good faith belief, lack of intent, nolo contendere, and expiration of the limitation period. For someone accused of the crime of embezzlement, meeting with a Tucson criminal defense attorney can help him or her understand which plea is most available.

Nolo contendere

When a defendant pleads nolo contendere to an embezzlement case, he or she is pleading neither guilt nor innocence. Instead, the defendant contests the case through his or her plea. It is then the court’s duty to assess the truth from the evidence the prosecution brings forward. However, nolo contendere is only pleadable with the court’s permission.

Expiration of statute of limitations

If the prosecution fails to initiate embezzlement proceedings within the statutory time period, then the accused has the available defense of limitation. However, certain states don’t consider the period of concealment of embezzlement when calculating the limitations period. It’s still important for the accused to remember that mere silence does not amount to concealment. Instead, concealment requires positive acts from the accused, which are meant to prevent discovery of his or her embezzlement. If the accused has partially paid for the embezzlement amount, then the statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the last payment.


The accused may only plead entrapment if he or she did not design the plan of committing embezzlement. As a result, someone accused of embezzlement must show that the owner actively urged the accused to embezzle the asset in order to accept the plea. Additionally, the accused is unable to plead absence of loss in an embezzlement case. This means the defendant cannot show that the victim could have avoided the loss through diligence.
Call (520) 829-1741 to schedule a free consultation with Janet Altschuler Criminal Defense Attorney. Attorney Altschuler has experience achieving success in criminal cases in front of judges and juries. Having practiced in Pima County Superior Court, Juvenile Court, Tucson City Court and Pima County Justice Court, she knows and understands the legal system throughout Southern Arizona.

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