Identity theft is on the rise, and California has one of the highest identity theft rates of any state in the country. Many individuals now use smart devices to purchase items, renew licenses, and file their taxes, and they may not know who is tracking or sharing their information.
Identity theft occurs when one individual takes another’s personal identification information and uses it for illegal, fraudulent purposes. Sometimes identity theft occurs when an individual takes another’s credit card and uses it without permission. However, there have been times when the accused was under the assumption that he or she had permission to use the credit card. If you have been charged with identity theft due to a misunderstanding, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney for help.
When individuals commit identity theft, they usually have a goal to take financial resources from another individual. In addition, individuals sometimes use another’s name, birth date, or social security number to avoid criminal liability. Some common types of identity theft may include:
criminal identity theft;
financial Identity theft;
medical identity theft;
child identity theft.
What are Defenses to Identity Theft?
When a person who is accused of identity theft hires a reputable criminal defense attorney, there are many defense strategies that can be used, which may include:
Unknowingly using another’s personal information a lack of criminal intent or mistaken identity.
Because identity theft is a serious crime, it is important to contact an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with this offense. An experienced criminal defense attorney understands what is needed to investigate the circumstances surrounding your case.
What are the Penalties for Identity Theft in California?
In California, a wobbler is a criminal charge that can either be a felony or misdemeanor. Those who are facing felony identity theft charges may be sentenced to three years jail and face a fine up to $10,000. Those are charged with misdemeanor identity theft and found guilty could face up to a year in jail and maximum fine of $1,000.
Those who are charged under the federal identity theft law could face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. It is important to note that a felony identity theft charge under federal law could mean those found guilty will face incarceration in a state prison.
California Penal Code 530.5 PC
According to California Penal Code 530.5 PC, there are four types of identity theft:
1. When an individual willfully obtains another individual’s personal identifying information for the use of unlawful activity (without the other individual’s consent).
2. When an individual acquires or retains possession of another individual’s personal information with the purpose to commit fraudulent actions.
3. When an individual sells, transfers, or provides another individual’s personal identifying information with another individual who has intentions to commit fraudulent activity.
4. When an individual sells, transfers, or gives personal information to another individual while knowing the information will be used for fraudulent activity.
In addition, California Penal Code 530.5 PC also states that intent to commit fraudulent activity must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution. If the prosecution isn’t able to prove this, then it could lead to a dismissal of the charges.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with identity theft, you should get in touch with an attorney immediately. A skilled criminal defense attorney can provide you with guidance and help you plan a solid defense.
In addition, if you are found guilty of identity theft, it could influence potential employment offers, loan opportunities, and more because you will have a criminal record. It is difficult to have an identity theft charge expunged from a criminal record, which is another reason why you should have a skilled legal team on your side. To learn more about possible defenses, contact our office today.