As the world becomes more dependent on the internet and technology in general, identity theft has become easier and more common. In response, law enforcement agencies in the State of Florida have increased their efforts at investigating and arresting suspects for identity theft. If you have been accused of identity theft, or you believe you are a suspect in an identity theft investigation, it is imperative that you understand the serious nature of the charges and potential penalties involved in an Orlando identity theft case. Attorney Jonathan Rose is dedicated to aggressively protecting you and your future if you are the target of an Orlando identity theft prosecution.
What Is Identity Theft?
Governed by Florida Statute Section 817.568, identity theft in the State of Florida is referred to in that statute as “criminal use of personal identification information” and is defined as follows:
“Any person who willfully and without authorization fraudulently uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use, personal identification information concerning another person without first obtaining that person’s consent, commits the offense of fraudulent use of personal identification information”
That same statute defines “personal identification information” as any name or number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific person, including any:
- Name, postal or electronic mail address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, official state-issued or United States-issued driver’s license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number, Medicaid or food assistance account number, bank account number, credit or debit card number, or personal identification number or code assigned to the holder of a debit card by the issuer to permit authorized electronic use of such card.
- Unique biometric data, such as fingerprints, voice prints, retina or iris images, or other unique physical representations.
- Unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code.
- Medical records.
- Telecommunication identifying information or access device.
- Other numbers or information that can be used to access a person’s financial resources.
What Are the Potential Penalties for an Identity Theft Conviction?
Identity theft is a serious criminal offense in the State of Florida. The potential penalties you face if convicted of identity theft will depend on the level of felony with which you are charged. The level of the charges against you, in turn, will depend on the “pecuniary benefit, the value of the services received, the payment sought to be avoided, or the amount of the injury or fraud perpetrated” and/or the number of alleged victims involved in the case. Potential penalties include:
- Less than $5,000 AND less than 10 alleged victims. Identity theft is charged as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
- $5,000 – $49,999 OR 10 to 19 alleged victims. Identity theft is charged as a second-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of three years and up to 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
- $50,000 – $99,999 OR 20 to 29 alleged victims. Identity theft is charged as a first-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 30 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
- $100,000 or more OR 30 or more alleged victims. Identity theft is charged as a first-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to 30 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Common Identity Theft Defense Attorney Strategies
Given the serious nature of identity theft charges and the potential punishment, if convicted, it is imperative that you have an experienced Orlando identity theft defense attorney on your side as soon as possible. Because identity theft prosecutions are often complex cases, the strategy your attorney uses to defend you will be uniquely tailored to the facts of your case; however, some common strategies include:
- Consent. One of the elements the prosecution must prove in an identity theft case is that the defendant had the “personal identification information” without authorization. If the alleged victim explicitly or implicitly knew you had his/her identification information, your attorney may focus on that within your defense strategy.
- Lack of intent to defraud. The prosecution must also prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intended to fraudulently use the identification information. Your attorney may focus on a lack of evidence proving the required intent to defraud as part of your defense strategy.
- Illegal search and seizure. If law enforcement officers obtained evidence through a search and seizure of your home or business, your attorney may be able to get the evidence seized excluded from a trial if the search was not conducted legally and properly.
- Insufficient evidence. The prosecution must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. If the State’s case is weak, your attorney may focus on that and argue that the State failed to meet its burden of proof.
Contact an Experienced Orlando Identity Theft Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with identity theft, or you believe you are being investigated by law enforcement for identity theft, you should consult with an experienced Orlando identity theft defense attorney immediately. Your attorney will protect your Constitutional rights, advocate and investigate on your behalf, and defend you throughout the prosecution of your case. Attorney Jonathan Rose has the commitment, resources, and skills needed to zealously represent you in an Orlando identity theft investigation or prosecution.
Contact an experienced Orlando identity theft defense attorney Jonathan Rose by calling 407-894-4555, chatting with us online, or submitting our online form today.