Nationwide Identity Theft Defense Lawyer
Have you been accused of stealing someone else’s identity? Our personal identifying information is an important part of establishing who we are, protecting our assets, and maintaining a sense of order in the goings-on in our day-to-day lives. If law enforcement or the district attorney’s office believes that someone’s identity has been stolen, then the accused person or persons may be subject to fines and imprisonment as punishment for their violations.
If you have been charged with identity theft, you need to 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. However, there are many federal defense attorneys in California and nationwide skilled at representing those charged with either felony identity theft or misdemeanor identity theft. With the help of a skilled identity theft attorney at your side, it is possible that you could see charges dismissed, clear your name, save your reputation, and escape jail time.
Orange County criminal defense attorney Diane C. Bass has a strong reputation among clients and fellow lawyers as a legal professional who aggressively fights for the rights of defendants accused of fraud crimes and stolen identity. Please understand that both state and federal government prosecutors will pursue the harshest criminal charges under the penal code, and you need a lawyer who will fight just as hard to protect your rights.
If you have been charged, contact the Law Office of Diane C. Bass to schedule an appointment where she may evaluate your case and legal options.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is illegal both under California state law and federal laws. Someone may be guilty of stealing another person’s identity if they willfully and knowingly obtained another individual’s personal identifying information and used that confidential or sensitive information without the person’s approval or knowledge. The theft of identity does not need to be used for financial gain or illegal purposes for the theft to result in criminal charges. However, if the stolen information was used for those purposes, then the defendant could face additional charges and enhanced sentencing. The penal code includes additional language for the crime of using a stolen identity with the intent of illegally obtaining money or property.
There are four types of identity theft:
- The sale or transfer of another person’s identifying information to another individual or group with the intention to commit fraud.
- Use of another person’s identity information for an unlawful purpose, such as obtaining credit, property, service, or finance.
- The use of stolen identity information with the intent to commit fraud, such as credit card fraud or tax fraud.
- Selling, transferring, or conveying stolen identity information without the person’s knowledge, knowing that the stolen info will be used by others 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, and 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 that prosecutors have the decision of whether to pursue felony or misdemeanor charges. Later, depending on the case, a judge may also rule on whether or not to change this. The existence of any criminal history may play a part in whether someone gets a misdemeanor or felony charge. The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is sometimes the difference between probation or a stay in federal, state, or county jail.
In most identity theft cases, the prosecution will also pursue charges of theft. If the amount stolen was somewhere less than a thousand dollars, the defendant may receive petty theft charges. More than that, and they could face grand theft charges. Assault or use of a deadly weapon in the process of 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.
What Are Possible Criminal Defense Solutions?
Every case is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all manner of defense for this type of crime. As your legal representation, lawyers will seek to establish a defense that is useful for your particular legal issue and the particulars of your case. Attorneys with experience handling this area of the law are your best hope to create a winning defense.
As your attorney, Diane C. Bass will explore all options and defenses that could be relevant to your case, including:
- Prove that, while you were in possession of 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.
Remember, 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.
Start Your Confidential Attorney-Client Relationship with Your Consultation
If you have been charged with the crime of identity theft, you must attempt to secure legal representation without delay. If you are found guilty of being in possession of stolen personal information, you could be facing a number of charges and harsh sentencing. The time to create a defense is now, not later.
As your representative, you can count on a confidential attorney-client relationship with Diane C. Bass where you may explore your options and determine which course of action best suits your interests. The Law Office of Diane C. Bass represents clients in the following localities: Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, and also nationwide.
To schedule your consultation, please call 949-577-8368.