Facing charges of identity theft may feel like you do not have any options. Especially if you have not had any previous offenses, you probably do not know where to go for help. Fortunately, a West Palm Beach identity theft lawyer can help defend you define the best way forward.
The identity theft laws are complicated, and it can be difficult to deal with a situation like this if you do not have the legal background and have never been in this situation before. That is where we can help. Our accomplished fraud defense lawyers have in-depth experience with these types of cases and can help you build your legal defense, protect your rights, and put a plan of action into place.
What is Identity Theft in West Palm Beach?
The identity theft laws covered in Florida Statutes § 817.568 are lengthy and elaborate. These statutes make it unlawful to use certain personal identification information to harass someone or to commit fraudulent activity. Personal identification information includes information such as name, mailing address, email address, phone number, social security number, date of birth, driver’s license, passport number, debit or credit card account number, and fingerprints.
Depending upon the facts, identity theft can be either a felony or misdemeanor. The offense becomes more serious if the facts involve personal identification information of 20 or more people. Additionally, the classification of the crime is more serious the greater the amount of money involved. A lawyer in West Palm Beach could explain someone’s identity theft charges.
Possible Defenses to Identity Theft Charges
It is important that anyone facing these charges understand that they are innocent until proven otherwise. This means the state must prove every element of the charge. For identity theft, the state must prove, beyond are reasonable doubt, either the fraudulent use of the personal identification information or that the defendant possessed this information with the intent to defraud. Without this, the State cannot secure a conviction.
This is important because sometimes a person facing these charges did not have the required intent. Or, in some cases, the person facing these accusations may have had permission or consent to use the personal identification information. A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney could examine a person’s identity theft case and determine which defense strategy best suits their case to get the best possible result.
Penalties for Stealing Another’s Identity
While it depends on the specifics of the case, most identity theft charges are classified as a third-degree felony. This means that the resulting penalties may include up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. Additionally, the defendant may be required to pay restitution to the victim as well. If there were multiple victims of this offense, the charges may increase to second or first-degree felonies, depending on the scope and value of the Fraud alleged. Naturally, as the scale of the offense increases, so do its potential penalties.
How a West Palm Beach Identity Theft Attorney Can Help
A West Palm Beach identity theft lawyer could help you find your way forward. You may not have experience dealing with cases like this, but we do. We can conduct a full assessment of your case and guide you each step of the way, so you know what your options are and what to expect. We could work with you to build your case plan. Call today to schedule your free consultation.