Not only in California but across the country, identity theft is a criminal offense growing at an alarmingly fast rate. In fact, in 2009 in our state alone, more than 1 million people were victims of identity theft. At The Justice Firm, we know the serious consequences individuals who are accused of this crime face if convicted. Our goal is to provide you with unsurpassed legal support and guidance, ultimately working to achieve good results. We work vigorously to protect our clients' freedom, and to help you avoid harsh criminal penalties.
Simply stated, you may be arrested for identity theft if you use another individual's personal identifying information for unlawful purposes, without the individual's permission or authorization. For example, the theft of stealing someone's driver's license, banking information, birth certificate, or credit card in order to commit a fraudulent crime or steal money is identity theft. Our Los Angeles identity theft attorneys understand that there are occasions on which an innocent individual is accused of this crime. Even if you are guilty, you have legal rights that must be protected.Los Angeles Criminal Defense Firm Protecting Clients Accused of Identity Theft
Considering the rapidly increasing use of computers, cell phones, and other devices today, the crime of identity theft has become a top priority for prosecutors who are eager prosecute, and who even have nearly unlimited resources in terms of investigating these types of crimes.
California Penal Code Section 530 defines identity theft as any person who intentionally and unlawfully acquires another person's personal identification information and retains possession of that information. It is important to note that each document or item (drivers license, credit card, passport, etc.) may be charged as a separate offense. In other words, if you unlawfully possess an individual's driver's license and birth certificate, you may be charged with two separate felony identity theft offenses. Regardless of how serious your situation may seem, we urge you to contact our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers immediately so that work can begin to protect your legal rights and freedom.Identity Theft Criminal Penalties in LA
In the state of California, identity theft is what is referred to as a "wobbler" offense; this simply means that you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of your case, and at the prosecutor's discretion.
If convicted of misdemeanor identity theft, the criminal penalties include a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in county jail.
If convicted of a felony offense, criminal penalties include a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to three years in California state prison.
Fines and prison time may be increased when an individual is prosecuted at the federal level; maximum prison time in a federal case is 30 years.Contact The Justice Firm Today
As you can see, the criminal penalties for this theft crime are severe. Even when charged as a misdemeanor, you do not want to risk the chance that you may spend a year in jail. Criminal penalties are not the only damages individuals face when charged with a crime - a ruined reputation, career, and relationships must also be considered. To ensure your legal rights are protected and that positive results are reached, contact The Justice Firm today. Call for a free consultation at 310-914-2444.