What Are Blue Collar Crimes?

Man pulling sharp knife out of his pocket

If you have been looking up criminal defense on the Internet or have spent a while in a Georgia courthouse, you may have heard the term “blue collar crime.” Find out what blue collar crimes are, some typical examples of blue collar charges, and what you can do if you find yourself charged with a blue collar crime.

White Collar Crime vs Blue Collar Crime

The term “white collar crime” is a product of the 1930s, when sophisticated criminals were finding new ways to take money from their employers, neighbors, and others. White collar crimes are the types of charges typically levied against upper-class individuals who work in offices and often (at the time) wore white collared dress shirts on the job. These crimes are generally non-violent and money-related, like embezzlement, fraud, or identity theft. They often involve dozens or even hundreds of victims who may or may not know anything has happened to them, or target a corporation instead of a person. White collar crime investigations can sometimes involve several co-conspirators who use complicated schemes to cover up their illegal activities.

Blue collar crime is the opposite. Sometimes referred to as “street crimes”, blue collar crimes tend to involve drugs, violence, or sexual activity. In contrast to white collar crimes, stereotypically, blue collar crimes are committed by lower-class people with fewer means -- those who historically would wear blue collars to their jobs in factories or retail stores. Many, but not all, blue collar crimes are impulsive, fueled by strong emotions and urges rather than cool-headed conspiracies. What ties blue collar crimes together is the simplicity in proving the crime has occurred, and their direct effect on their victims.

The reality is that the stereotypes about who commits crimes are false. Well-off people can be charged with blue collar crimes, and poorer people can be involved in white collar crime schemes. The labels remain common because they describe the differences in the way the crimes are investigated and prosecuted, and the common criminal defense strategies used to avoid improper convictions. While not always the case, white collar crimes, particularly those involving the taking large sums of money more readily prosecuted in the Federal Court system. While the State Court system has jurisdiction over and does prosecute white collar crime, the State system is most often involved in the blue collar crimes.

Typical Blue Collar Charges

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Drug crimes
  • Burglary
  • Arson
  • Destruction of property
  • Shoplifting
  • Retail Fraud
  • Prostitution
  • Sex Crimes
  • Assault

Blue collar crimes come in many varieties, but most often result from police “working the streets” rather than from investigators working behind the scenes to uncover some hidden scheme. Still, even when your blue collar charges are the result of a drug raid or sting operation, the prosecution of these crimes is usually more straightforward than in white collar crimes. That means you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight back against the charges.

Defending Against Blue Collar Criminal Charges in Georgia

Police and prosecutors often have to do a lot less explaining to get a conviction in a blue collar case. There simply aren’t as many dots to connect between the defendant and the victim. But they still need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

That's where a criminal defense lawyer can help. Every crime is made up of specific elements that must be proven with evidence before the jury can reach a guilty verdict. Defending against blue collar criminal charges often means poking holes in that evidence by raising defenses of:

  • Mistaken identity -- That someone else did the crime
  • Alibi -- That the defendant somewhere else when the crime happened
  • Missing elements -- That the prosecutor has failed to prove some part of the case
  • Police errors or misconduct -- That a confession, evidence, or information was obtained illegally
  • Testing errors -- That the substance the police found was not a controlled substance or that your blood alcohol test or drug test was not properly performed
  • Entrapment -- That the police convinced you to commit the crime

In some blue collar cases, you may also have “affirmative defenses” that justify your actions. For example, you are legally allowed to stand your ground against attackers or home invaders in Georgia. If you face criminal charges after defending yourself, a loved one, or your property, you may be able to raise self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property claims to fend off the conviction.

At Criminal & DUI Law of Georgia, our criminal defense lawyers in Cartersville, Georgia, take on all sorts of blue collar crimes. Whether you are facing drug charges, or are accused of theft, violence, or sexual offenses, we can help you develop a strong defense. Contact Criminal & DUI Law of Georgia so we can begin working on your case right away.

Categories: Criminal Defense