Though the drastic increase in reliance on computers and cell phones has increased a consumer’s susceptibility to identity theft, this crime happens outside of the cybersphere as well. Many who commit identity theft are unaware of the severe penalties for this crime. Similarly, they may not know this is charged as a felony. As such, if you are facing charges of identity theft, you’ll want to connect with an experienced Oklahoma City felony defense lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the act of using someone else’s personal information and details for your own gain. This most often refers to the act of using an identity to open accounts or take out loans in someone else’s name, but can also occur when someone uses another person’s credit card, uses their information to get a tax refund, or even uses their medical insurance.
Generally, anytime someone sells, uses, offers, or alters another person’s identity to obtain money, credit, goods, or services in the name of the person whose details they are using, they are committing theft.
What Are the Penalties for This Crime?
It’s important to understand that the penalties for crime are intense, as it is considered an egregious violation of privacy. If you are convicted, you will face an automatic felony, which carries between one and five years in prison. Additionally, you can face a fine of up to $100,000.
Aside from criminal charges, you can also face a civil lawsuit brought about by the victim of identity theft. They have the right to sue you for economic and non-economic damages caused by your actions. For example, if you open an account and run up a $5,000 credit line, they can seek those damages. However, they can also sue for the emotional damages often suffered by victims of identity theft.
Are There Any Potential Defenses?
Like most crimes, it may seem impossible to defend identity theft. However, it may be possible to fight the charges based on your unique circumstances.
For example, this could be a case of mistaken identity. It’s not uncommon for sophisticated hackers to cover their trail, and you may simply be a victim of the actual criminal in question. Additionally, you may have had permission from the accuser to use their identity on their behalf. If someone gives you their credit card to run to the store for them, they may claim you made the purchase without authorization. Unfortunately, this can be challenging, as it’s often a “he said, she said” situation.
In other cases, you may be able to argue that your rights were violated at some point by the police, whether this was during your arrest or during a search of your home. If this occurs, you may be able to have the evidence collected deemed inadmissible because it violates your Constitutional Rights.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, it is essential to enlist the assistance of an experienced felony defense attorney in Oklahoma. At the Jone Firm, PLLC, we understand the severity of these charges. That’s why our team will work with you to explore all options to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your circumstances.