Identity theft is an increasingly popular crime as our world of technology creates more privacy vulnerability. Stealing someone’s identity can significantly impact them personally and financially. People convicted of identity theft may face up to five years in prison.
If you have been charged with this crime, you can avoid the worst-case scenario by working with a Glendale identity theft lawyer from Simmrin Law Group.
Understanding Identity Theft
If you or a loved one has been charged with identity theft, the first step toward fighting the charges is learning exactly what identity theft is. Identity theft is a common crime defined as “obtaining another person’s private information and using it fraudulently.” People who commit identity theft normally do so to achieve some kind of financial gain.
Being in possession of another person’s personal information in and of itself is not always a crime. When someone takes personal information from another person, there is only a slight chance that they will be charged with identity theft. The actual crime occurs when that stolen information is used fraudulently to make purchases, sign up for accounts, or commit crimes.
Having multiple stolen identities in your possession is even worse, as this may lead to a charge of trafficking stolen identities. When someone has possession of several stolen identities, they do not need to use the information for illicit purposes to be charged with a crime. Even if they can prove that they did not use the information, holding multiple stolen identities may be compelling evidence to the prosecutor that they intended to use the stolen information illegally or sell it to a criminal.
For a free legal consultation with a identity theft lawyer serving Glendale, call (310) 928-9347
What Happens When You Are Convicted of Identity Theft
Identity theft may seem insignificant, but the courts have deemed it a serious offense. If you are convicted of identity theft, several penalties of varying severity may apply. What penalties you face depends on the circumstances of the criminal offense.
Regardless of your circumstances, an identity theft attorney in Glendale can help you minimize the consequences.
In any identity theft case, jail time and significant fines are on the table. How long you spend in jail and the extent of the fines depends heavily on what information you stole and how it was used.
Misdemeanor Identity Theft
If you stole someone’s identity and used it to make $1,000 or less worth of purchases, the crime will likely be tried as a misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanor identity theft has the maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Felony Identity Theft
Felony identity theft is a much more serious offense. Using someone else’s identity to make more than $1,000 in illicit gains often counts as a felony offense. The maximum sentence for felony identity theft is 3 years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines.
In instances wherein the offender used someone’s identity to commit other crimes, their charges may be aggravated. Aggravated charges give the judge the option to add two years to the convict’s sentence.
Glendale Identity Theft Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Defending Yourself Against Identity Theft Charges
Identity theft charges often stem from the arrestee being found to be in possession of another person’s personal information. While this alone is not enough to result in a conviction in most cases, the prosecutor will usually work to find out if the arrestee used the personal information illegally. When you speak to an identity theft lawyer in Glendale, you will learn that there are several defenses that can be applied to keep the prosecutor from convicting you of identity theft.
The Officer Did Not Give a Miranda Warning
Before questioning occurs, the arresting officer is required to tell the arrestee their Miranda Rights. Your Miranda rights include:
- The right to remain silent.
- Any statement you make can be used against you in court.
- The right to consult with a lawyer and have one present throughout the interrogation process.
- The right to have a lawyer appointed to your case at no cost.
Someone who has not received their Miranda Rights can claim that their statements during their arrest and in interrogation are inadmissible. Even if you admitted to committing the crime, a Glendale identity theft attorney can help you maintain innocence by proving that your Miranda Rights were never presented to you. This can make it easier to have your case dismissed or penalties minimized.
There Was No Intent to Cause Harm
To land a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant held another person’s personal information to use it unlawfully. Having the information is not a crime in most cases, and the burden of proof is on the prosecutor to show that you intend to use the information unlawfully. Leveraging this defense is easiest when defendants can show that they held or used the information, but did not do so maliciously or on purpose.
Consent Was Given
It is not illegal to use someone else’s personal information if they have permitted it to be used. To use this defense effectively, plaintiffs must provide documentation that shows that the defendant gave them direct or indirect permission to use their personal information in the way it was used. Witness testimony can also be used to achieve a similar outcome.
Face Minimal Penalties for Identity Theft
Simmrin Law Group is here to help you fight these identity theft charges. It would be wrong to promise that we can have your case dismissed — but rest assured, we will do everything in our power to ensure that you face the minimum reasonable level of consequences from these charges.
To get started with a free case evaluation, fill out the contact form on this page now.