According to the Arizona Attorney General, identity theft is when one person takes another person’s personally identifying information and uses that information for their benefit to obtain property. This could be taking someone’s social security number and signing up for a new credit card. It could also involve signing a check made out to someone else and trying to deposit or cash it. Regardless of the act, pretending to be someone you’re not is a serious crime. If you’ve been charged with this crime, a criminal defense attorney can be your best friend.
Identity Theft Penalties
When someone steals another person’s identity, the penalties can be severe. Even in relatively minor cases, a conviction of identity theft can carry stiff jail time and large financial penalties. In most cases, restitution will be ordered. This puts the person in the position they would have been had the crime of identity theft not occurred. In other words, the convicted person will be required to pay back the money they stole. A conviction of identity theft will also make it more difficult to get and hold a job as the conviction will follow you.
Under Arizona law, identity theft is a Class 4 felony. This means that while judges have the discretion to raise or lower a sentence based on the severity of the crime, the standard punishment for identity theft is over two years in prison. Arizona takes this crime very seriously as evidenced by the severity of the punishment. If you have been charged with identity theft, this is not a situation that will go away on its own or that you can handle without competent legal representation.
What Are Your Defenses?
After you have been alleged to have committed identity theft, you have defenses available to you. If you can prove the person was paying you back or if you can prove someone else acted fraudulently and not you, these could be defenses. You may also be able to get evidence suppressed so the judge and jury don’t hear about it. You can also discredit witnesses who may testify against you. You may also be able to persuade the prosecution that your crime isn’t as serious as what has been charged and to give you a plea bargain to a lesser crime.
Trust the Professionals
These are the types of situations you, unfortunately, can’t handle on your own. The only way to know for sure which of these possible scenarios applies to you is to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney who can guide you through the difficult criminal process.
If you have been charged with identity theft, you are in a very serious situation. You could be facing multiple penalties, including time in jail. Speaking with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney with experience in criminal defense should be your next step. Let us help you work through this. We will explain your options and determine the best course of action for your specific case. Contact us today to to discuss your options and how to best move forward.