In California, Penal Code Section 530.5 defines identity theft as obtaining and using someone else’s personal information for unlawful or fraudulent purposes, including selling or transferring this person’s information for similar purposes.
Personal information includes:
- Birth date
- Social security or tax ID number
- Driver’s license information
- Passport details
- Employee identification
- School identification
- Bank or credit details
No matter whether you only face accusations of simple identity theft, or also signature forgery, and/or fraud, you need to hire a reputable criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and future.
Identify Theft Can Result in a Misdemeanor or Felony Conviction in CA
Depending on the kind of identity theft you committed, the severity of your case, and your criminal history, a California judge can convict you of either a misdemeanor or a felony.
A misdemeanor conviction for identity theft can result in up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. For a felony conviction, you can spend up to three years in California state prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines. If you are convicted of signature forgery felony, a court may also require that you do community service.
In addition to state laws and penalties, certain identity theft cases also involve federal charges. If this happens, the potential penalties are even more serious. Under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, a federal conviction for identity theft can not only lead to substantial fines but up to 30 years in federal prison. Federal courts also have extensive resources to support their investigation.
Other Consequences of an Identity Theft Conviction
Even a misdemeanor conviction with light penalties can have lasting consequences on your personal and professional life. Having a criminal record can impact your employment, housing, financial, and even academic opportunities. It can also affect your parental rights and your right to own a firearm.
This is why it is important that you build a strong defense case against any charge of identity theft you are dealing with. Even what may seem like a minor conviction can have a lifelong effect on you and possibly your family.
Choose Attorney Nabiel C. Ahmed to Protect Your Rights and Future
Whether you are dealing with state and/or federal identity theft accusations, you should reach out to us as soon as possible. This way, we can conduct a thorough assessment of your situation and help you understand the possible penalties you are facing. Our in-depth and current understanding of state and federal law helps us create effective solutions.
Attorney Ahmed can recommend one or more defense strategies to help secure a dismissal or reduction of charges to protect your rights and future. Whether your situation is simple or complex with multiple charges to address, working with a reputable criminal defense attorney plays a central role when challenging identity theft accusations in California.
If you have been accused of identity theft in Oakland or its surrounding areas, contact The Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed today at (510) 907-6600 to schedule a criminal defense consultation.