It is easier now than ever before to get personal information online. The information age has brought in an abundance of information sharing, and you can be privy to someone’s personal information without even asking. Previously, you would have different channels to gather a person’s information, making identity theft cases challenging.
False accusations of identity theft have become rampant because there is so much information on the web; real crooks can easily pin a crime on an unsuspecting person. A Costa Mesa identity theft lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group can help you fight these charges.
Legal Penalties in Costa Mesa
Identity theft can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on several important details. The prosecution will try to charge you with a felony if you have a criminal record. Misdemeanor identity theft charges can result in one year in jail and a max fine of $1,000 which can be critically detrimental to your future.
Felony identity theft cases will result in 16 months up to three years in prison which is harsher than jail. Fines can go up to $10,000 depending on the circumstances.
Regardless of whether it is a felony or misdemeanor, you will need to pay full restitution. If you have a job dealing with sensitive information, you will also lose your job.
An identity theft lawyer in Costa Mesa can get probation or parole and keep you from doing jail time. While it is an option, it is not a guarantee. You will need to address your specific circumstances with your attorney to determine if this is an option.
Federal charges are also possible for identity theft cases, and penalties will be in addition to state charges you face. Federal charges have steep fines and a max of 30 years in federal prison. The penalties are separate incidents that can lead to these fines amassing hundreds of thousands.
It is important to note that each personal item stolen counts as a separate charge. You can face 30 years for one item, three for another, and 20 for another resulting in 53 years in prison for one incident.
For a free legal consultation with a identity theft lawyer serving Costa Mesa, call (310) 896-2723
Criminal Elements of Identity Theft
California Penal Code §530.5 has four elements regarding identity theft. If one component is missing, the case cannot move forward. The first element refers to using someone’s personal information without authorization, and next, the possession of personal data is fraudulent.
The third subsection involves a person selling or transferring confidential information. The transfer can occur physically or electronically. The final subset of Penal Code §530.5 consists of the intent to use the information without authorization. The California prosecution must prove all of these elements exist in a criminal case.
The prosecution must prove that you had access to another person’s personal information; you obtained the data and did so unlawfully. Suppose you have authorized access to the information; you can use that as a defense when facing an identity theft charge as long as you did not use the information in a criminal matter.
Costa Mesa Identity Theft Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Related Criminal Charges
The prosecution is looking for any way to add charges to your case and will often resort to charging you with:
- False impersonation
- Insurance fraud
- Senior Fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Check fraud
- Grand theft
Each additional fraud will have additional penalties that can result in years of your life behind bars. Costa Mesa identity theft attorneys will fight these other offenses and ensure you are not facing criminal charges you should not be.
Legal Defenses for Identity Theft
State and federal identity theft offenses do have defenses available. Your identity theft attorney in Costa Mesa will find the best strategy for your case, depending on the facts. One possible defense is that you did not possess the information and the prosecution has the wrong person.
Another defense is you were in lawful possession of the information and had no intention of using it fraudulently. Mistaken identity does happen, and it is a viable defense.
Gaining Accessing Information by Mistake
With information being spread and sent across technological devices, you can mistakenly open an email or private message that contains a person’s personal information. You did not seek the information, but it is somehow in your possession. The information came to you through no fault of your own.
So long as you do not use the information, you cannot get a conviction for identity theft. Many false accusations are floating around because people feel they share this vital information with one other party, meaning you. They can convince themselves that no one else has access to the information but you when the reality is that a third party unbeknownst to them does have access.
Working with a Costa Mesa identity theft lawyer is essential to get an acquittal, dismissal, or plea agreement.
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Why You Need the Services of a Costa Mesa Identity Theft Lawyer
All criminal offenses have a lasting impression on people’s lives, but identity theft will prevent you from ever holding a job. Employers will be unwilling to hire you because they fear private information will leak even if you were falsely convicted. It is essential to have a Costa Mesa identity theft lawyer who knows the law and has experience building defenses that withstand the prosecution’s claims.
Call a Costa Mesa Identity Theft Lawyer Today
If you are facing an identity theft charge in Costa Mesa, you must call the Simmrin Law Group so we can build a defense strategy that will allow you to live your life without an identity theft criminal record hanging over your head. The state and the federal government will throw the book at you, and you must have a law firm with the resources to go to trial if the need arises. During the trial, our Costa Mesa identity theft lawyer will need to call witnesses to the stand and provide substantial evidence to prove your innocence.
If we don’t get the best outcome from the trial, we will file an appeal and continue to fight for your freedom.