With the advent of electronic technology, identity theft has become a very common crime and as such, more and more law enforcement agencies are now taking active steps to prosecute people for various crimes involving identity theft. Often, these cases may be complicated and involve a vast paper trail of evidence that needs to be sifted through in order to properly present a defense.
(via Huffington Post)
Identity theft is a general term that is used to refer to crimes where a person wrongfully obtains and uses the personal information of another to obtain something usually of value like money, goods or services. In other words, if a person pretends he is someone else to get something, that is identity theft.
Identity theft can take many forms. The most common variety is when a person uses another’s credit card to purchase and item at a store. Other times, people will use false identification in order to work. This may be using a different person’s name or other identifying information such as a social security number. A person using a fake identification to cash a check may be charged with identity theft as well as forgery.
In recent times, people have been able to use computers to access various types of accounts and databases to obtain money or goods. These are usually referred to as hacking but a person accused of this can also be charged with identity theft.
Like all financial crimes, the penalties for identity theft can differ, depending on many factors. If a person uses a credit card to buy one item at a store, that person is facing exposure to a much lesser punishment than what a person accused of a fraud worth thousands of dollars would face. Likewise, the complexity of the fraud may have a bearing on how much time a person is exposed to.
Identity theft may be charged in either a state or federal prosecution and this affects the maximum punishment a great deal. Federal identity theft laws are much harsher than the laws of the state of California. The main reason for this is the fact that federal criminal laws have mandatory minimums that leave very little discretion to the judges.
As discussed previously, identity theft cases will sometimes involve a complicated set of evidence that must be thoroughly examined by a criminal defense attorney in order to first understand and then attack the prosecution’s case. That is why only an experienced criminal defense attorney can properly represent a person accused of identity theft.
Because identity theft has been on the rise in recent times, court and prosecutors have been coming down hard on identity theft Defendants. A criminal defense attorney must know how to navigate the system in order to properly represent his client charged with identity heft.