West Palm Beach Identity Theft Lawyer
Identity theft is a crime that affects millions of people each year in the United States. That is why federal and Florida state authorities take the prosecution of such crimes very seriously. And if you are the person charged with committing identity theft, you must be prepared to defend yourself in court.
An experienced West Palm Beach identity theft lawyer can provide you with invaluable guidance and assistance in this area. At the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., we represent clients charged with stealing or misusing personal identifying information. We can review your case and offer legal advice tailored to your unique facts and circumstances.
Identity Theft Is a Serious State and Federal Crime
“Identity theft” refers to the criminal use of personal identification information. Basically, if you obtain or use someone else’s personal identification information without their consent–or you use their information in a fraudulent manner–you can be charged with a criminal offense under both federal and Florida state law. In this context, personal identification information includes:
- a person’s name, postal address, e-mail address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, driver’s license or state-issued identification number;
- a person’s financial information, such as a bank account, credit or debit card number, or a PIN number required to use such cards;
- a person’s unique biometric data, including their fingerprints, voice prints, or retinal image;
- a person’s medical records;
- the unique identifying number of a person’s phone or other computer device.
If you fraudulently use–or possess with intent to fraudulently use–someone else’s personal identification information, you can be charged with a third-degree felony in Florida. This can be elevated to a second- or first-degree felony based on additional factors, such as the total value of the fraud involved or the number of persons whose personal identification information was misused.
It is critical to understand that identity theft is both a state and a federal crime. So even if a Florida prosecutor declines to press charges, a United States Attorney might decide to proceed with a separate federal case. And federal identity theft laws typically require significant prison time upon conviction.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson Today
There are many possible defenses available in an identity theft case. Depending on the specific facts and circumstances, a defendant may argue that they have been falsely accused or that the alleged victim actually gave permission to use their personal identification information. Prosecutors must also prove that you possessed any personal identification information with fraudulent intent. And as with any criminal case, the police or the State’s Attorney may commit constitutional violations that require a court to exclude certain evidence or potentially dismiss the case outright.
In short, you may have many options available to you for contesting an identity theft charge. Your first step should be to speak with a skilled West Palm Beach identity theft lawyer. Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., today if you require immediate assistance.