Identity theft is a crime in which a person knowingly uses the personal identifying information that belongs to another person in an attempt to obtain property fraudulently without that person’s consent. Common situations that involve identity theft include the opening of a credit card account using someone else’s identifying information, running up the charges before the credit card is shut down, and evading the financial responsibility for it.
It also can be with any other application or any other transaction where is a person is trying to escape legal or financial responsibilities by using the information of somebody else, pretending to be someone else, whether it be in person or electronically. Overall the penalties for these acts are extremely serious and as such warrant attention from an identity theft defense attorney. A lawyer with experience dealing with these types of cases and assist both in building a strong defense and ensuring that all the various legal factors are taken into acount.
There are two degrees of identity theft: first and second degree. The penalties for conviction of identity theft in the first degree, when the property that is obtained or is attempted to be obtained exceeds $1,000, can be up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to twice the amount of the property obtained, or if there was any financial injury incurred by the victim, a $10,000 fine. Whichever is the greatest.
Second-degree identity theft is when the property has some value but does not exceed $1,000. The maximum penalty can be 180 days in jail if there is any value of property taken, financial injury, or if another person is falsely accused or arrested because someone else used their personal information to identify themselves as that person. In that situation, even if there is no financial injury, that person is still charged with identity theft.
There is an enhanced penalty for identity theft committed against someone who is 65 years old or older at the time of the offense. The fine can be increased by one-and-a-half times and the imprisonment term can be increased by one-and-a-half times.
If a person is convicted, they will have direct consequences from the court. Long after the penalties from the court expire, when an individual has a conviction for identity theft on their record, it can have a negative impact on that individual’s future attempts to secure employment and participation in certain programs.
In any criminal case, when the government’s evidence is very strong, the person charged might consider taking a plea deal depending on the individual circumstances of their case, their background, and the punishment the government seeks. If the government seeks particularly harsh penalties even through a plea deal, it might be completely understandable for a person charged to have no interest in accepting that harsh penalty.
When there is a strong case against the person, it may be in their best interest to try to negotiate the punishment or the negative ramifications because the government may have the incentive to do so. While the government has vast resources to prosecute cases, they do not have limitless resources. Any time they can reach a resolution in the case they are satisfied with, rather than going to the time and expense of a trial, they might be motivated to negotiate the punishment.
A person charged with penalties for identity theft in DC must be up front and honest with their attorney about what happened and what evidence there might be so the attorney can make an honest evaluation and assessment of the best strategy going forward.
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