Throughout the long life of a company, you’re bound to run into legal trouble from time to time.
We’d all like to eliminate all potential business pitfalls. Even though extensive preventative measures should be taken regularly, unexpected issues are bound to occur at some point over the course of your business’s existence.
Imagine that your company is in some deep legal trouble, and your business’s life is threatened to be cut short. Now what? If your company has gotten into more than just a little trouble, don’t fret. Keeping a level head and knowing what to expect is crucial to coming out unscathed on the other side. Here are four tips to keep in mind as your company is facing serious criminal charges.
This is the first and most important piece of advice that anyone who’s ever been in legal trouble has received. It’s a business basic, but you’d be shocked at how many businesses don’t document important happenings within the organization. It’s never professional to agree to do business on just the basis of conversation.
Always keep records of everything. If you attempt to hide evidence, you’ll be in much more trouble than you already are.
For a company, this means having your records in order. This includes incident reports and anything that can be used as evidence in a court of law. This will make it apparent that the company had implemented systems to avert legal trouble, and that appropriate actions were taken.
Ultimately, it’s the facts that will bring the case to a close. This is why the thorough and continuous documentation of important events is key.
Being armed with the knowledge of what you did wrong and why is one of the most important things to do at the beginning of an investigation. You may not be an attorney, so you’re not familiar with every local law that dictates where you went wrong and why.
You can become familiar with the law without going to law school. With the internet at your fingertips, you can access countless verified sources that cover various laws in your area.
Remember to look up information about your local laws, rather than rely on generic sources. The internet is a bit US-centric, so take care to not incorporate US laws into your understanding of your local laws if you don’t live in the US. But even if you do, laws in the US vary from state to state, so proceed with caution.
If you don’t know how to access the proper information, simply ask for help. Consulting with an experienced, local criminal lawyer would be the best course of action. Ask for recommendations from friends or family, and always hire a local lawyer who is familiar with your area’s laws and regulations.
Try to find a lawyer who is experienced in your kind of case. Research, ask for information, gather your reports and documents, and discuss it all with your lawyer.
If you can poke holes in your own defense, so can another lawyer. In fact, it's their job to do so. For your defense to be as airtight as possible, you should purposefully try to dismantle it. Pretend you are your own opponent and do your best to bring yourself down.
This will allow you to see all the flaws that were always there, which were ready to be taken advantage of. Now you can work on eliminating the weakest arguments. Perfecting your defense as much as you can is key, so don’t fall victim to denial and think that your defense is “good enough”. Be your own worst enemy.
While you should give out information to legal parties and individuals that need it in order to continue with the legal proceedings, it’s not a good idea to freely give out information to your friends or coworkers. Certain details must stay secure and protected at all costs.
Although it might be tempting to vent your frustrations or ask for ideas from your coworkers, you might be giving sensitive information to someone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind. Worst case scenario, this information can be used to construct a narrative against you. If you’re in deep legal trouble, this is the absolute last thing you need.
It’s easy to panic if your company has gotten into deep trouble with the law. It’s a serious matter, and you should treat it as such. Still, keeping calm and taking it one step at a time dramatically increases the chances of you coming out the other side just fine. Maintaining a cool and collected mind will keep a bad situation from becoming worse.