October 24, 2016

Can a company be prosecuted in the same way as an individual?

Corporate Criminal Liability

If you have been charged in San Diego State Court or in the United States Federal Court as an individual, it is important to hire an attorney who can negotiate the best plea deal (if trial is out of the picture). In some circumstances, an individual may own a company, which can take part of the blame in the events leading up to the criminal charges. With proper legal representation, an individual’s company may be substituted as a criminal defendant in the case.

sandiego_1_bg_071302Under Federal and California State law, companies are considered legal “persons” and are subject to the prosecution for all criminal offenses just like an individual would (unless exempted by statute).

Cal. Penal Code § 7: “Words used in this code in the present tense include the future as well as the present; words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular; the word “person” includes a corporation as well as a natural person; the word “county” includes “city and county”; writing includes printing and typewriting; …”

18 U.S.C. § 2510(6): “‘person’ means any employee, or agent of the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof, and any individual, partnership, association, joint stock company, trust, or corporation;”


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