Personal identifying information is of increasing value. People who assume the identity of someone else run the risk of being charged with a serious offense under Florida law. If you are charged with identity theft or a related white collar crime, such as mail fraud, it is important to retain an experienced attorney. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg identity theft lawyer Will Hanlon strongly believes in guarding the rights of the accused.Understanding the Elements of Identity Theft
You can be charged for assuming anyone else's personal identifying information. Beyond their name, you could also be charged for assuming their address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, or other personal identifying information. If you use public records to perpetrate identity theft, the offense will be reclassified to the next more serious degree. Depending on the circumstances, identity theft may also be charged alongside other white collar crimes, such as mail and wire fraud, or theft crimes like grand theft.
To establish identity theft, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you, willfully and without authorization, fraudulently utilized or possessed with intent to fraudulently utilize personal identification information about someone else, without getting that person's consent. This is charged as third-degree felony identity theft.
If you use somebody’s personal identifying information to get a pecuniary benefit or something else worth over $5,000, you can be charged with a second-degree felony. In addition to imprisonment and fines, you can also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. A second-degree felony could also be charged if you fraudulently used 10-20 people's personal identifying information without consent. The mandatory minimum sentence for second-degree felony identity theft is three years in prison. Since there is a mandatory minimum, the judge will not have the discretion to sentence you to a lighter sentence if you are found guilty. This is an important reason to retain an identity theft attorney in St. Petersburg if you are facing this type of charge.
First-degree felony identity theft can be charged if the court finds that you willfully and without authorization fraudulently utilized personal identifying information concerning someone without consent when the pecuniary benefit or other value in question was $50,000 or more. First-degree felony identity theft can also be charged if you fraudulently used the personal identifying information of 20-30 people without their consent. The mandatory minimum sentence for first-degree felony identity theft is five years’ imprisonment. When the pecuniary benefit at issue was $100,000 or more, or you stole personal identifying information of 30 or more people without consent, the court must sentence you to a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.
The court also can impose a greater sentence of incarceration than the mandatory minimum. Accordingly, it is very important to retain an experienced St. Petersburg identity theft attorney to defend against these charges. Moreover, if you committed identity theft, and the prosecutor can also show that you did so in order to harass that person, you can be charged with the offense of harassment by using personal identification information. This is a first-degree misdemeanor. If you used a public record to do it, the crime will be reclassified to a felony of the third degree. Reclassification will occur with third- or second-degree felonies involving use or facilitation through a public record as well.
Moreover, if you commit identity theft on a minor under age 18 or an elderly person who is at least 60 years old, you can be charged with a second-degree felony. Similarly, if you are a parent or legal guardian of somebody who is a minor or at least 60 years old, and you use the personal identifying information of that person willfully and fraudulently, this is also charged as a second-degree felony. It is a third-degree felony to willfully and fraudulently use the personal identification information of someone who is dead or of a dissolved business entity. It is a first-degree felony to use the personal identification information of a dead person or dissolved business entity when the pecuniary benefit was $50,000 or more, or there are 20-30 victims.Explore Your Options with an Identity Theft Lawyer in St. Petersburg
There may be useful defenses available if you are charged with identity theft, but it is important to retain an attorney as soon as you realize that you are being investigated for this crime. If you are looking for an aggressive St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to fight charges of identity theft or related offenses, Hanlon Law may be able to represent you. Our founder and principal, Will Hanlon, has been providing dedicated criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form.