Identity theft has become a major issue, and some states are trying to fight back by penalizing accused identity thieves more severely. If you have been caught up in some overzealous enforcement and accused of identity theft, you cannot just allow that to stand. You have to fight back against these charges. A Bergen County criminal defense attorney from our firm will do their best to help you make your case and avoid any harsh penalties.
Just about any crime that requires you to impersonate someone else to obtain some kind of benefit or defraud someone can be considered identity theft. Some examples of this include:
Whether you are accused of opening a credit card account in someone else’s name or trying to receive benefits that are owed to someone else, the punishments for identity theft charges can be quite severe.
Jail time is a potential punishment for any kind of identity theft charges, even if your criminal record is clean and your crime did not involve that much money. The severity of the charges against you can vary based on how many people you allegedly victimized and how much money was involved. Let’s take a closer look at the degrees of identity theft and what kinds of punishments could be on the table for defendants:
Fourth-degree identity theft: An identity theft charge in the fourth degree is generally reserved for defendants with no prior record. There is usually just one victim involved and the benefit derived from stealing the victim’s identity is valued at under $500. Considering this low amount, the punishment of up to 18 months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines can seem particularly punitive.
Third-degree: This is often the charge for crimes that involve two to four victims and a benefit valued somewhere between $500 and $75,000. A conviction can mean three to five years in jail and up to $15,000 in fines.
Second-degree: You could face up to 10 years in prison and $150,000 in fines if you defraud five or more people and the benefit gained can be valued at $75,000 or more.
You could also end up facing other charges, like credit card fraud, depending on what you are accused of doing with a stolen identity.
There is no reason to accept punishments for a crime that you did not commit. If you have been accused of identity theft or any other crime, contact the Law Office of Attorney Conway. Our experienced team can schedule a consultation and tell you more about what we can do to assist you.