Identity Theft in San Diego
Identity theft is a criminal offense defined as the taking of another person’s personal identifying information for use in an unlawful or fraudulent manner. Criminal charges may be filed against you in Federal court if you have committed an offense which violated the U.S. criminal code or you have committed an offense related to Federal government property.
Understanding Title 18 U.S.C. 1028
Federal identity theft is prosecuted under Title 18 U.S.C. 1028. Under federal law it is illegal to knowingly present another person's I.D., transfer a stolen identification document, and produce, transfer, possess or traffic equipment that will be used to produce false identification documents.
Understanding California Penal Code Section 530.5
In consideration of the seriousness of identity theft, California has criminalized it under Penal Code section 530.5. Under this law, “Any person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person, and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170."
Basically, to convict someone of PC 530.5, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements:
- The defendant willfully obtained the personal identifying information of someone else;
- The defendant willfully used that personal identifying information for an unlawful purpose;
- The defendant did not have the consent of the person whose identifying information they used.
Identity Theft Will Be Filed As a Misdemeanor or a Felony
Identity theft is considered a wobbler offense, this means that the prosecution has discretion to charge the offense as a misdemeanor or a felony. To make this determination the issuing attorney at the District Attorney's office will consider to factors:
- Defendant’s criminal history;
- The extent of the loss of the victim.
Penalties for Identity Theft
If you are charged with Misdemeanor identity theft, you could face:
- A maximum of one year in a county jail;
- A maximum fine of $1,000.
If you are charged with Felony identity theft, you could face:
- A maximum of three years in county jail;
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
If you are charged under Federal identity theft, you could face:
- Increased fines and up to 30 years in federal prison.
How can an attorney prove you are not guilty of identity theft?
The prosecution has the burden of proof to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed identity theft. If a single element of the offense is missing , then you cannot be convicted. These are some of the defenses that can be used to avoid a conviction for identity theft.
- Consent by the owner of the personally identifying information.
- Person’s identity not used for fraudulent purpose.
- You lacked fraudulent criminal intent.
Your Best Defense When Facing Charges for Identity Theft in San Diego
It is very important that you speak with experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder as soon as possible regardless of the type of charges you're facing, whether it's identity theft or various charges for fraud, such as charges for a health care fraud. Vik Monder is one of the few attorneys that is ready to take your case to trial and is not afraid to do what it takes to get your charges dropped or mitigated at the least. Do yourself a justice and get the upper hand when fighting a criminal charge by securing an attorney. The risk you take of not properly fighting the charge could result in prison time, and a permanent criminal record. Do not risk your future and have the help of San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder on your side.