West Palm Beach Identity Theft Attorney
Now that so many commercial transactions are executed online, identity theft is on the rise and harder than ever to track and prosecute. Thousands of people each year report phantom charges on credit card bills or loans that have been taken out in their name. In some cases, social security numbers are stolen or used by those immigrating from other countries.
Both state and federal authorities have begun redoubling efforts to crack down on these tactics, but they don’t always get the right person and sometimes, accusations of identity theft may be used to hold those who have otherwise committed no crime.
The West Palm Beach identity theft attorneys at the Skier Law Firm P.A. helps those who are accused of identity theft mount a serious defense to the charges against them. We believe in due process and ensuring that every client gets a fair jury trial. If you’ve been accused of identity theft in West Palm Beach, contact our law firm and we will ensure that your rights are respected.
Identity Theft and Related Crimes
Identity theft is related to other kinds of fraud and theft but is unique in its own right. We handle cases involving:
- The use of stolen credit cards,
- The use of stolen passwords or PIN numbers,
- Mail fraud,
- Money laundering,
- Social security card number theft,
- Fraud or forgery of credit or loan application information.
Penalties for Identity Theft Charges and Related Crimes
Essentially, identity theft is when you use someone else’s information for the purpose of committing fraud or stealing money. The exact language of the law can be found in Florida Statutes 817.568 and the state considers it to be simply “the criminal use of personal information.” Just about any information that identifies a person, including biometric data like their fingerprints, used for unlawful purposes can be prosecuted as identity theft.
According to the law, any individual who possesses another person’s personal information for the purpose of committing fraud is guilty of a third-degree felony. From there, depending on how much money was stolen or how many individuals were defrauded, you can be charged with either a second or first-degree felony. These charges can carry minimum sentences if you are convicted of the crime or plead guilty.
Crimes in which no money or property was stolen but the information was used to harass another, it can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony depending on the situation.
Defenses to Identity Theft and Related Charges
In most of these cases, the prosecution and police need to be able to prove unlawful intent. Merely possessing another’s information may or may not be a crime depending on the circumstances. If you are charged with these crimes in the State of Florida, you could be facing serious jail time. In some cases, you could be facing federal charges and those not only require mandatory minimums but have up to 30-year sentences as a worst-case scenario. It’s important that you let a lawyer do your talking for you.
The Skier Law Firm P.A. has the experience and resources to mount a solid defense. Even if you did commit the crimes with which you’re charged, you are likely being overcharged by the prosecution. Reduction of charges and facing less jail time is a positive scenario. Give us a call or contact us online and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.