Defense Strategies in an Identity Theft Case
Are you in danger of being charged with identity theft in Georgia? You need a defense attorney you can count on to help navigate the laws and criminal court system that has expertise with charges related to identity theft.
Identity theft (also commonly called identity fraud) uses someone else’s information, such as a social security number, driver’s license, or medical record of another individual, for some sort of benefit.
In Georgia, O.C.G.A. 16-9-120 through 16-9-127 criminalizes attempting or conspiring to commit identity fraud and is a felony and is punishable by up to a $100,000 fine, one to ten years in prison, both for a first offense. The second offense increases to a fine of up to $250,000, three to fifteen years in jail, or both. The court may also make the defendant make restitution to the victim.
If you are facing identity theft charges, there are several strategies that an experienced criminal defense lawyer can utilize to help ensure your rights and future are protected. Identity theft is a serious charge, and it is critical to have a defense lawyer who is skilled and committed to protecting your rights and your freedom. Today, we will take a look at what constitutes identity theft and some successful strategies used for defense.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is using someone else’s personal information for personal gain without consent or authorization. Things like opening bank accounts, obtaining credit cards or loans, selling or transferring personal identification numbers or social security numbers, or using someone else’s bank or credit cards all constitute identity fraud.
Obtaining someone’s identifying information can include their:
- -Date of Birth
- -Driver’s license number
- -Checking, savings accounts, or financial service accounts
- -Personal ID numbers
- -Debit or credit card numbers
- -The legal surname of the parent before marriage
- -Or using information or numbers to access someone’s financial resources, obtain ID, acquire goods and services
Illegally obtaining any of the above to use unlawfully or fraudulently will be charged with identity theft.
Reasons One Will Be Charged With Identity Theft
Identity fraud charges are a serious criminal matter, and there are several reasons you could have charges brought against you.
- -If you accept identifying information that you know is fraudulent, stolen, or false and use it for ID purposes
- -If you create, use, or possess false identification of a real person with the intent to commit a crime.
- -If you create, use, or possess a false identification that is a fictitious person with the intent to commit a crime.
- -If you use the identity of someone under the age of 18 who is in your custody
- -If you use or possess someone’s identification without their consent to commit a crime
Defense Strategies In An Identity Theft Case
Your defense attorney will be the best one to determine which strategy to take based upon the evidence and the circumstances. Choosing an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you and protect your rights and your future is essential.
1. Evidence Of Implicit Or Explicit Consent
If you were given consent to use the alleged-victim’s identity, you can’t be charged with committing identity theft as permission protects you from liability. In some cases, the victim did not provide explicit verbal or written authorization; however, implicit consent may not have been obvious, initially.
An example of this would be if your employer permitted you to make purchases on their behalf by giving implicit consent. Implicit consent can be given by things such as nodding in agreement while discussing that you would make purchases.
2. There Is No Intent of Fraudulent or Unlawful Purpose
Prosecutors must show that you intended to or engaged in fraudulent or illegal
activity using the identification information. Even if you obtained the identifying information illegally, you can’t be charged with identity theft if you didn’t use the personal data for any unlawful purpose.
An example would be even if you illegally obtained someone’s information but didn’t use it or attempt to use it.
3. Criminal Intent Is Lacking
The prosecution has to prove that you obtained the victim’s identity for an illegal purpose in order to file a criminal charge of identity fraud. Circumstances surrounding identity theft are often unclear, and you may have mistakenly taken on the victim’s identity and utilized their accounts unknowingly.
An example of this would be if you have the same name as someone else and due to an administrative error, you are connected to their accounts. Then, due to the error, you used the funds for your personal use. In this case, there is an argument for no intent to commit identity theft.
Are You Ready To Fight For Your Rights And Your Freedom? Get Help From Andrew L. Schwartz
A felony conviction will negatively impact your life. Andrew L. Schwartz is a highly experienced former prosecutor who will fight for you and help prevent your charges from becoming convictions. He understands the stress of dealing with criminal prosecution and knows how to navigate the complexities of the criminal court system from both sides.
We will fight for your rights, your future, and your freedom. With many years of experience as a prosecutor, Andrew L. Schwartz will be an advocate for you and your best interest throughout your case. Call now for a free, no-obligation consultation with Schwartz Law located in Cobb County, GA.