Blue Collar Vs. White Collar Crimes

Published: 13th January 2011
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Have you ever heard the phrase "white collar crime"? No, not just the popular television show airing on the USA network, but the real criminal offense category termed thusly due to the class of people who normally commit the crime. There is a big difference between blue collar and white collar crimes in the United States, from the crime classifications to the punishments thereof.



Generally speaking, the traditional attire of the person committing that style of crime defines the crime's classification. White collar refers to the dress shirts worn by these types of office workers wear, with white collars and ties. Blue collar would refer to the standard uniforms worn by many working class individuals. These are very general terms, and there is no law that states that a working class person cannot commit a white collar crime and vice versa. The classifications refer more to the crime itself as a general definition than the actual perpetrators. Also, these are generalized classifications coined by the media and are not codified as crimes in the classic sense in our judicial system.



Definition of Blue Collar Crimes



A blue collar crime is a highly visible crime committed by the average working class or poor American, from violent crimes to thievery and even drug-related crimes. Most are perpetrated by people who believe that they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by the success or failure of the crime, and the crime is committed due to a lack of hope, environmental pressures, peer pressure, or a simple feeling that there are no other options.



Blue collar crimes are typically associated with Americans who work for a living, heading to day jobs or night shifts in order to earn an income and support a family the hard way. According to experts, the unemployed are at highest risk for committing what is classified as a blue collar crime. Crimes in this category typically include theft, drug charges, DUIs, and violent crimes. Keep in mind that many high-powered executives get charged with DUIs, crimes of violence and drug crimes. The difference is that they aren't charged with these type of crimes at the same high rate as blue collar workers.



White Collar Crimes



Opposite of blue collar crimes, white collar criminals are typically the high class people who inherited money or earn a lot of money at upper level jobs, such as management, business or corporate bigwigs, et cetera. The types of crimes committed are generally technical or money-related in nature, such as computer-based crimes or embezzlement, and these crimes are steadily increasing as more people discover the negative aspects of doing business primarily online.



There are many different sophisticated crimes that are classified as white collar crimes according to legal precedent. They include, but are not limited to: embezzlement, money laundering, identity theft, credit card fraud, hacking, forgery, and similar crimes. The punishments for the white collar crimes are drastically different as well, often incurring probation or community service in conjunction with high monetary fines instead of focusing solely on incarceration, as is the case with many blue collar crimes. However, with the Bernie Madoff scandal as well as the other recent wall street crimes, more and more white collar criminals are facing stiff criminal penalties that include long periods of incarceration in federal prisons. This is due in large part to the severe societal and economic impact of these crimes as well and the attention brought to these crimes by the media.



This information is provided solely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.



William Bly of The Law Office of William T. Bly, a Maine law firm, spends part of his practice on criminal defense issues. To read additional information, check out the firm's website online today.

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