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State and Federal Criminal Defense Representation
Trusted Defense For Complex Criminal Cases Identity Theft

Orange County Identity Theft Lawyer

Serving Local Clients from Irvine, CA, & Federal Clients Nationwide

Have you been accused of stealing someone else’s identity? Our personal identifying information is integral to establishing who we are, protecting our assets, and maintaining a sense of order in our daily lives. If law enforcement or the district attorney’s office believes someone’s identity has been stolen, those accused may be subject to fines and imprisonment for their violations.

If you have been charged with identity theft, you must speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Investigators will follow the money, and if it leads back to you, a guilty conviction could result in years behind bars in state prison. 

Many federal defense attorneys in California and nationwide are skilled at representing those charged with either felony or misdemeanor identity theft. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may see charges dismissed, your name cleared, your reputation saved, and jail time escaped.

At Law Office of Diane C. Bass, Orange County identity theft defense attorney Diane C. Bass has an exceptional reputation among clients and fellow lawyers. She is known as a legal professional who aggressively fights for the rights of defendants accused of fraud crimes and stolen identities. 

Both state and federal government prosecutors will pursue the harshest criminal charges under the penal code for identity theft. Ms. Bass can fight just as hard to protect your rights and pursue optimum results.

If you have been charged, call Law Office of Diane C. Bass at F:P:Sub:Phone} to schedule a case evaluation and to determine your options. Or contact us online

What Is Identity Theft? 

Identity theft is illegal under California state and federal laws. You may be guilty of stealing another person’s identity if you willfully and knowingly obtain another person’s personal identifying information and use it without their approval or knowledge. 

Identity theft does not need to be used for financial gain or illegal purposes to result in criminal charges. However, if the stolen information was used for those purposes, you could face additional charges and enhanced sentencing. The penal code includes additional language for illegally using a stolen identity to obtain money or property.

The four types of identity theft include:

  • The sale or transfer of another person’s identifying information to another individual or group to commit fraud.
  • Use of another person’s identity information for an unlawful purpose, such as obtaining credit, property, services, or finance.
  • The use of stolen identity information intending to commit fraud, such as credit card or tax fraud.
  • Selling, transferring, or conveying stolen identity information without the person’s knowledge, knowing that others will use the stolen info to commit fraud.

Stealing a driver’s license, assuming another person’s identity, breaking into a non-encrypted email, committing credit card fraud by using a card belonging to another person without their consent, assaulting a victim, and stealing their ID all constitute identity theft.

What Are the Penalties for Identity Theft Charges?

Identity theft is a “wobbler” offense, meaning prosecutors can pursue felony or misdemeanor charges. Later, depending on the case, a judge may rule on whether or not to alter the charges. Criminal history may impact whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony. The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony can be probation or incarceration in federal or state prison or county jail.

Identity theft penalties can include up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for misdemeanors. Felony penalties can include 16 months, two years, or three years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.

In most identity theft cases, the prosecution will also pursue theft charges. If the amount stolen was less than a thousand dollars, you may receive petty theft charges. More than that could result in grand theft charges. Assault or using a deadly weapon in theft can result in enhanced sentencing. The use or theft of multiple identities can also play a part in charges and sentencing.

In addition to financial penalties and the possibility of prison time, restitution is almost always demanded of those found guilty. Those convicted may face extensive probation after prison, lose the right to own a firearm, and potentially lose their license.

False Impersonation Charges in California

Under California criminal law, false impersonation also referred to as criminal impersonation, occurs when an individual assumes another person's identity and, in that identity, performs an unlawful act or deprives another of a right or benefit or causes them harm. This offense is outlined primarily under California Penal Code 529 PC.

Examples of False Impersonation:

  • Signing documents under another's name: For example, signing a legal document or contract pretending to be someone else without their permission.
  • Falsely arresting someone: Impersonating a police officer or another law enforcement official to arrest or detain someone.
  • Financial fraud: Using someone else’s identity to open bank accounts, apply for loans, or make financial transactions.
  • Online impersonation: Creating a social media account or sending e-mails under another person’s name intending to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten.
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Penalties for False Impersonation in California:

The penalties for false impersonation in California can vary based on the nature of the offense, whether it was charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, and the defendant’s criminal history.

Misdemeanor penalties might include up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to$10,000, probation, and community service. Felony penalties where impersonation led to significant harm or involved aggravating factors can include a state prison sentence of 16 months, two or three years, a fine of up to $10,000, formal probation, and restitution to victims.

Additionally, under certain circumstances, if the false impersonation involves identity theft, federal charges may be prosecuted with even more severe penalties.

What Are Possible Criminal Defenses for Identity Theft? 

Every case is unique, and no one-size-fits-all defense exists for this type of crime. Your lawyer will seek to establish a defense specific to your particular legal issue and the particulars of your case. Attorneys with experience handling this area of the law are your best hope for creating a winning defense.

As your attorney, Diane C. Bass can explore all options and defenses that could be relevant to your case, including:

  • Prove that, while you had information belonging to another person, you had no intent to use that information for an illegal or unlawful purpose.
  • Ensure that any evidence in the case was acquired by a legal search and seizure and that law enforcement acted properly or have that evidence thrown out.
  • Prove that you obtained the information with consent and for general information purposes, suggesting that no crimes were committed.
  • Craft a favorable plea deal.

You are innocent until proven guilty. It is up to the prosecution to prove your guilt. Your attorney needs only establish reasonable doubt that a crime was intentionally committed.

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Trusted By Clients

Reviews & Testimonials
    "She will put your anxiety at ease and get you through the tangled system."
    Diane is the perfect mix of gentle understanding and fierce action you’ll need if you find yourself dealing with the OC court system.
    - Angie T.
    "Whatever you’re going through, I’m confident Diane will achieve the best outcome you could hope for."
    My first impression was that she’s very experienced, no-nonsense, knows the law, how the system works, and was very busy as a result. I quickly realized that she exceeded even those first impressions but also cared very much about my story, needs, an
    - Daniel B.
    "From the start of my case, she has been there for me."
    First of all, I would like to thank Diane for everything she has done for me. From the start of my case, she has been there for me. Only very few people were granted bond and she pulled it off in my case. I know for a fact not too many lawyers could have done that. I am on probation for three years.. while “the others” will not have the chance to raise their children and live their lives. I was headed to prison….I am free.. and for that, I am forever grateful.
    - John H.
    "Diane Bass is a phenomenal attorney."
    After meeting with Diane I felt immediate comfort, and I was sold on the fact that I could trust this amazing person with my life. Diane Bass was there for me every step of the way like no other attorney had ever been.
    - Ryan O.
    "She is not afraid to battle for you. With her, you will never be alone."
    Diane is a brilliant attorney. She listens carefully to your problems and clearly advises you with honesty. She was with me from the first day of my case and I have never been disappointed in any way.
    - Maria K.
    "I highly recommend Diane if you are dealing with legal troubles of your own."
    Since this being my first Federal offense, I had no idea what to expect. I was extremely anxious. After talking to Diane, I felt like she was the attorney I needed to help me get through these challenging times. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law
    - Adam P.
    "Diane’s work is second to none."

    Diane’s work is second to none. I was charged with felony DV, and after working with one firm in Irvine that did absolutely nothing, I did some hard research and found Diane. She worked quickly and diligently and got the case dismissed. I absolutely don’t foresee me needing a criminal lawyer down the road, but if I do, it’ll be Diane hands down!

    - Shadic A.
    "Diane is the most professional, thorough attorney I have ever met."
    Her expertise, connections, analysis, and comprehensive review of my situation were more than I could ever ask. I am extremely grateful and couldn't be happier with my choice!
    - Jeff R.

Why Choose Law Office of Diane C. Bass?

  • Top-Rated & Award-Winning Legal Representation
    We consistently deliver results that exceed expectations, earning the trust of clients and accolades from the legal community.
  • 25+ Years of Criminal Defense Legal Experience
    With over 25 years of criminal defense legal experience, we bring a wealth of seasoned insight and a proven track record of success to every case we handle.
  • Extensive Knowledge & Experience With Federal Cases
    With extensive knowledge and experience in federal cases, we offer comprehensive legal strategies tailored to the complexities of each situation.
  • An Outstanding Reputation Amongst Clients & Peers
    Our reputation among clients and peers alike reflects our unwavering dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes for those we represent.
  • Featured in the Media
    Attorney Bass is frequently featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, LA Times, ESPN, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more.
  • Track Record of Success
    With a track record of handling some of the most significant cases in the Central District of California, our firm brings unmatched experience to every client's defense.
  • Selected by Super Lawyers Since 2022
  • Avvo 10.0 Rating
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Top 100 Lawyers

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