Identity theft is a growing problem, with many people taking advantage of how easy it is to access someone's personal information. In many cases, a person will be charged with identity theft, if they are accused of using someone else's name, credit card number or Social Security number to make purchases or obtain employment.
If one has been charged with identity theft, it will be the prosecution's job to prove that they committed the crimes. Typically, they will have to prove that one obtained someone else's personal information with the intent to defraud someone or fraudulently use the information for their own gain. Even if one has yet to buy anything or use the information in any way, just obtaining it with the intent to use it may be enough to get a conviction.
There are many factors that will determine the consequences one may face, including the value of the goods acquired, the value of the goods that were lost, whether a felony was committed and prior convictions. For example, in New York, if the value of the goods exceeds $500, it is a felony or an accessory to a felony. And, if one is convicted of third degree identity theft less than five years ago, they may be convicted for second degree identity theft. First degree identity theft, on the other hand, requires over $2,000 in goods, a Class D felony or higher, and a prior second degree identity theft conviction sometime within the past five years.
Many identity theft victims face jail time, hefty fines and probation. For example, first degree identity theft is a Class D felony and can result in up to seven years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, or double the amount gained. Second degree identity theft is a Class E felony and can lead to similar fines and up to four years in jail. However, with the right defense strategy, one can avoid some of the harsher penalties that come with identity theft convictions.
In some cases, one may be able to avoid a conviction altogether. A criminal defense lawyer who understands the complexities of New York identity theft laws can assist.
Source: FindLaw.com, "New York Identity Theft Laws," accessed on Dec. 18, 2017