Going to trial is hard. Many individuals describe it as the single most stressful experience of the life. Families are shaken to the core and many feel as if all hope is lost. Counterfeiting case are especially hard, since an individual may have never been guilty in the first place. The trial process for cases of these nature very slightly from the average criminal trial.
Discovery of a Crime
If a counterfeit bill or product has properly done its job, it may go unnoticed forever. However, more often than not, it’s only designed to be a pass for a period of time. It will fool the consumer and several people so the criminal can make a clean break and profit. Eventually, someone with a keen eye catches on.
Once a false product is reported, businesses and individuals must immediately contact law enforcement. Individuals will be encouraged to stay on the premises or face additional charges later. All of the suspected merchandise or currency will be confiscated until the closure of the investigation.
It may surprise you to find out that the Secret Service investigates counterfeiting crimes. While they’ve been known to guard political figures and critical government buildings, they were originally created to prevent counterfeiting. This part of the process involves questioning, tests and evidence collection, possibly with a short stay in jail.
If you or a loved one have become caught up in a counterfeiting investigation, cooperation is crucial. Never withhold information or become difficult to work with.
The entirety of a counterfeiting case hinges upon knowledge and intent. More specifically, whether the individual passing fake money or products knew of its illegal origin, and whether they meant to capitalize off a well known brand. Very few cases are clear cut with individuals being caught red handed during production or with clear evidence of their knowledge and intent.
Additional charges may be applied to the case, such as manslaughter or fraud depending on what crimes were committed in connection with counterfeiting. These are handled on a case by case basis and will rely on defenses specific to those charges.
An important thing to note is the connection between trademark counterfeiting and infringement. The court sees these as similar crimes. Although counterfeiting carries far greater penalties, if a defendant makes a successful defense for infringement, they cannot be tried for counterfeiting.