Identity theft is a serious crime that often leaves victims wondering how to pick up the pieces. Because the consequences can be serious for victims, the criminal justice system seeks to punish offenders with significant penalties like jail time and fines. Having been charged with identity theft, you are probably looking for a way out of being convicted of the crime.
You need to contact Simmrin Law Group to get in touch with a Buena Park identity theft lawyer immediately.
What Identity Theft Means in California
Before you go to court for identity theft, ensure that you are fully aware of what the charges mean. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), identity theft is defined as any criminal behavior that involves taking another person’s personal information and using it to perform fraudulent activities. With this definition in mind, you must understand that simply holding a person’s personal information is not necessarily identity theft.
Although you can be charged with identity theft when you illegally obtain another person’s personal information, convictions in these cases are rare. To be convicted without actually using the person’s information, you often must be found to be in possession of several stolen identities, rather than one. The caveat to this is that if a prosecutor can prove that you obtained a single stolen identity to perform illicit acts, you can be convicted of identity theft.
While hiring a lawyer is not mandatory, you would benefit from having adequate legal support. An identity theft lawyer in Buena Park can help you navigate the process far more effectively than you would on your own.
For a free legal consultation with a identity theft lawyer serving Buena Park, call (310) 896-2723
What to Do About Identity Theft Charges
When facing identity theft charges, the best thing to do is to hire a Buena Park identity theft lawyer to help you strategize your defense. Without a strong legal defense, your freedom and financial security will be in the hands of a public defender and the prosecutor. While public defenders are able to successfully defend their clients occasionally, you have much better chances when working with a Buena Park identity theft attorney.
Regardless of which attorney you choose, they will likely leverage one of several defenses to clear your name.
You Were Not Read Your Miranda Rights
Your Miranda Rights must be read to you during or immediately after you are arrested. The statements you make during the arrest may be inadmissible in court if they are not. Your Miranda Rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Your statements can be used against you when you go to court.
- You have the right to speak with a lawyer and have one available while you are interrogated.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed at no cost to you.
Failure to give a Miranda warning can even lead to charges being fully dismissed if the only available evidence was obtained during the arrest but before you were told your rights. Anyone charged with identity theft would welcome these circumstances, but proving that you did not receive a Miranda warning can be difficult without a Buena Park identity theft lawyer working the case for you.
You Did Not Intend to Use the Information Illegally
In order to convict you, the prosecutor needs to show the court that you stole someone’s personal information AND intended to use it illegally. If you simply had the information and did not intend to do anything with it, it is possible to escape the charges. Success with this defense normally hinges on the defendant’s ability to prove that they held or used someone else’s personal information unintentionally.
You Had Consent to Use the Information
If you can prove that the supposed victim of identity theft gave you permission to use their information, you likely cannot be convicted. Proving that you had consent to use the information is not an easy task. Someone would normally need to produce some form of evidence showing the agreement, such as documentation or witness testimony.
Buena Park Identity Theft Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Identity Theft Convictions and Their Consequences
Many of the people charged with identity theft assume that the penalties will be insignificant. However, this is not the case. Even a misdemeanor identity theft charge can carry significant weight, with penalties ranging up to a year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
The penalties you will face depend on the nature of your crime. If you have stolen a gratuitous amount of money or made significant profits from stealing someone’s identity, you will likely face felony charges rather than a misdemeanor. While misdemeanor penalties are not insignificant, the penalties for felony charges can be up to three times as severe.
Felony identity theft convictions carry a maximum sentence of 3 years in federal prison and $3,000 in fines. If the prosecutor decides that you should face aggravated charges, this maximum sentence may be increased by two more years. To have aggravated charges, defendants must be accused of using stolen identities to commit other crimes.
Simmrin Law Group Is Here for You
To win against the prosecution, you need an identity theft attorney in Buena Park that has grit and experience. For a typical lawyer, these cases can be hard to win. Fortunately, Simmrin Law Group is not staffed by typical lawyers.
We are a talented team of hard-working attorneys who understand many of the complexities of criminal litigation. You can trust us to represent you effectively in your upcoming identity theft trial. To get started with a free case evaluation, use the contact form on this page.