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

According to Notre Dame College, the word crime refers to “any harmful act or omission that results in incarceration or a major fine.” Nevertheless, crime is broken down into “white-collar” and “blue-collar” categories, and not everyone understands what these categories mean. Fortunately, we are here to help you understand both your rights and the law. Whether you’ve been charged with a crime or just want to learn more, keep reading to discover the difference between white-collar crime and blue-collar crime.

What Is Blue-Collar Crime?

Blue-collar crimes are undoubtedly illegal to those observing the action and have a clear victim. Violent crimes, such as murder, sexual assault, and armed robbery fall under the category of blue-collar crime, as do non-violent crimes, like prostitution and illegal gambling. Interestingly, “blue-collar” is not a legal term but a phrase that helps us separate “everyday” crime from a higher tier, white-collar crime.

What Is White-Collar Crime?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines white-collar crime as “the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals,” and crimes that are “characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence.” Instead of using weapons, white-collar criminals use their internet browsers, bookkeeping software, or their own reputations to commit crimes like embezzlement, money laundering, mortgage fraud, election fraud, and healthcare fraud.

White-collar crime can be more difficult to identify than blue-collar crime, but it is far from victimless. Each year, white-collar crime causes up to $600 billion in financial losses, and one criminal act can financially ruin multiple victims.

Differences in Prosecution

White-collar and blue-collar crimes are typically associated with people of different social and economic classes. Blue-collar crimes are linked to “blue-collar workers” and other everyday Americans, and white-collar crimes are linked to socially and economically powerful people. Violent and overt blue-collar crimes typically garner more media attention and more dramatic responses from the public, so people assume this type of crime is “worse” and more prevalent.

Typically, blue-collar cases are easier for juries to understand, as well which means blue-collar criminals are at a disadvantage in the court system. Psychology Today explains:

White-collar and elite criminals benefit from institutionalized non-enforcement practices, regulatory policies, and legal representation not available to street criminals. As a result, white-collar criminals are extremely difficult to apprehend and prosecute.”

Criminal Defense for All

At Foley Griffin, we believe everyone who is charged with a crime deserves outstanding legal representation. Whether you’ve been charged with a blue-collar felony or misdemeanor or a federal crime, our attorneys can help. With more than 75 years of combined legal experience, we will seek the most favorable result on your behalf. Our team treats every client with dignity and respect and fights to protect your rights under the law.

If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime, call us at (888) 966-8480 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.