When a crime is committed by someone who has a powerful status in society, such as an elected official, celebrity or wealthy individual, their deviant behavior is often handled differently than if it had been committed by someone with less power. Sociologists call this phenomenon “White Collar Crime” which has been defined as “a criminal act that is committed using one’s professional position of trust to benefit oneself or another” (Trevino & Nelson, 2011). Historically, those in positions of power have been able to commit crimes without fear of serious consequences because they are often able to use their resources and privilege to buy justice. This can manifest itself through means such as buying influence with judges and prosecutors in the form of political donations and other favors, hiring expensive lawyers and PR firms to handle legal proceedings out of the public eye or simply relying on the perception that certain people cannot be guilty due to their high social standing (Merryman et al., 2016).
Additionally, there are differences in how white-collar crime cases are investigated and prosecuted compared to regular criminal investigations. Typically, white collar criminal activity may take longer for authorities to detect due being more complex and conducted over longer periods of time. Furthermore investigations may require input from multiple government agencies since financial documents must be analyzed across different jurisdictions within the United States or even abroad (Santoro & Sugarman , 2015). As a result these types of cases often become drawn out court battles rather than swift prosecutions seen in other areas. In addition authorities investigating white-collar crimes must carefully consider how handling these cases will affect stock prices and public opinion when making decisions on whether or not they should pursue them further (Bailey et al., 2017).
When a crime is committed by someone who has a powerful status in this society, how is their deviant behavior handled in comparison to someone who has less power in society.
Moreover research has also shown that punishments for white-collar criminals tend to be much more lax than those experienced by individuals who do not hold prominent positions within society(Heumann et al., 2012). This can include lower fines imposed upon guilty parties as well reduced sentences when convicted (Anderson & Osofsky 2010 ). Scholars attribute this discrepancy largely due economic factors such as a lack available funds necessary pay off large fines while still maintain lifestyles accustomed with being upper class members of society . As a result many believe that current system allows elite individuals evade responsibility fully committing severe offenses .
In conclusion it clear that those holding powerful positions within society experience significantly different treatment when accused engaging illegal activities compared persons low social status . Therefore measures need taken order ensure everyone regardless wealth status receives fair judgement regard matters law enforcement investigation prosecution punishment