With the ease of the Internet and nearly everyone having smartphones, gone are the days of stealing someone’s mail to commit identity theft. Instead, identity theft can occur when someone uses cyber tactics to gain personal information they do not have a legal right to.
What is Identity Theft?
Under Pennsylvania law, identity theft occurs when a person has possession or use of, through any means, identifying information of another person without the consent of that other person to further any unlawful purpose.
Each time you possess or use the identifying information constitutes a separate offense of identity theft. However, the value involved in the various acts, be it one victim or multiple will determine the grade of the offense.
The penalties of identity theft charges vary depending on the nature of the offense.
- If this is the first offense and the total value involved is less than $2,000, identity theft is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- If the identity theft involved more than $2,000 or was related to criminal conspiracy, it is charged a third-degree felony, punishable up to seven years in prison.
If identity theft is committed against a victim 60 years old or older, a care-dependent person or someone under 18 years old, the grading of the offense will be one grade higher than specified above.
Evidence in Identity Theft Charges
People often do not know they are victims of identity theft until the money is missing from their bank account, fraudulent activity is being brought to their attention, or mail from unknown sources appears. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to prove identity theft has occurred.
The most commonly reported forms of identity theft include:
- Financial Identity Theft
- Medical Identity Theft
- Criminal Identity Theft
- Child Identity Theft
Often, the main forms of evidence used to establish that identity theft occurred include any documents or photographs; or any fact used to establish an identity like “name, birth date, Social Security number, driver’s license number, nondriver governmental identification number, telephone number, checking account number, savings account number, student identification number, employee or payroll number or electronic signature.”
In addition, a police report stating that identifying information has been stolen will be prima facie evidence.
Defenses to Identity Theft
If you’ve been accused of identity theft, the penalties you may face are incredibly harsh. But with the right criminal defense team behind you, some of those penalties can be mitigated to less severe punishments.
If you have been charged with an identity theft crime, you need legal action. Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C. can help.
Identity Theft Charges in Scranton: Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C.
As with any criminal charge, knowing you have a strong legal team behind you can be the difference between a severe penalty and walking away with the most favorable outcome. Scranton criminal defense attorney Craig Kalinoski will review your case and work diligently to give you the best possible results. He will explore alternative sentencing options and establish your right to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program.
If you have been accused of identity theft, you need a legal team behind you. You need Kalinoski Law Offices. Contact us today.