Being charged with identity theft is a serious matter. A conviction can have serious repercussions for your life, including significant jail time, fines, and a criminal record. An experienced Fresno identity theft defense attorney at Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer knows how challenging a charge of identity theft can be and how emotionally draining it is for those who are accused.
In the last decade, identity theft has become a prominent criminal offense that has received a lot of attention. The prevalence of technology and increased use of electronic devices for transactions has put identity theft in the spotlight. In response, law enforcement authorities across the country, including California police, have increasingly targeted identity theft for investigation, prosecution, and conviction. Generally, the crime of identity theft happens when a person uses another’s personal information without permission or authorization for an unlawful or fraudulent purpose, including to obtain credit, goods, services, or property.
Attorney Michael McKneely will work to protect your rights and use an effective defense strategy so that you can have a favorable resolution to your case. Call (559) 443-7442 today or use the online form for an initial case evaluation.
False Personation in California
Under the California Penal Code, identity theft is called “false personation” and is defined as:
- Willfully getting and using another person’s personal information for an unlawful purpose without consent in order to obtain money, credit, goods, services, or property, or to commit fraud;
- Selling or providing someone else’s personal information to another with the intent to defraud or with knowledge that the information will be used to commit fraud;
Under the penal code, personal identifying information includes names, social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, bank account or credit card information, employee or school IDs, or birth and death certificates.
Identity theft in California can be a wobbler offense, which means the prosecutor has the discretion to charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the circumstances of the case and any criminal background. A misdemeanor identity theft conviction may result in up to one year of jail time and/or a fine up to $1,000. A felony identity theft conviction may result in up to three years of incarceration and/or up to $10,000 in fines. As part of the punishment, a court will also order restitution to compensate victims for their losses.
Fresno identity theft defense lawyer Michael McKneely will work hard to protect your rights and your reputation in the community. He will use the experience he gained as a prosecutor and a defense attorney in creating an effective defense strategy in your case and working for a favorable outcome.
Possible Defenses to Identity Theft Charges
Ultimately, the best defense strategy for identity theft is that you were mistakenly or falsely accused. Mistaken identity is not uncommon, and your attorney can help you investigate whether someone else was the actual perpetrator. Another common defense to identity theft that you might raise is that you did not have any fraudulent intent or unlawful purpose in using someone else’s personal information. Finally, the law exempts interactive computer service or software providers from prosecution, unless the information is sold or transferred with the intent to commit fraud.
Talk to a Fresno Identity Theft Defense Lawyer Today
Identity theft charges are challenging and complex criminal offenses. If you or a loved one has been accused of identity theft, you will need a passionate and skilled defense attorney who will leave no stone unturned in protecting your rights and putting up a vigorous defense. Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today at (559) 443-7442 to set up a free consultation. If you’re facing identity theft charges in California, preserve your legal rights by contacting us right away. Fresno criminal defense lawyer Michael McKneely has been on both sides of the criminal justice system, so he knows what to expect and how to make the process easier for you.