Charlotte Identity Theft Defense Lawyers
Identity theft charges include the crimes of stolen credit cards and check forgery. Identity theft has become more common as more people rely on technology on a daily basis. Consumers and businesses alike continue to conduct more financial transactions online. The North Carolina legislature has responded by making the consequences for identity theft even more serious. Those facing identity theft charges can face jail time, long periods of probation, and fines. If you have been accused of identity fraud, you face penalties that could negatively affect your life for a long period of time.Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers have extensive experience defending those charged with crimes in Charlotte. We have a proven track record of helping our clients fight to protect their rights during the criminal justice process. If you are facing identity theft charges, we can help. Contact our Charlotte criminal defense team today to schedule your free case evaluation.Types of Identity Theft Charges
Identity theft is also called identity fraud. Identity theft happens when someone steals the personal information of another person and uses it for his or her own financial gain. Under North Carolina laws, a person commits identity theft when he or she obtains, possesses, or uses someone else's personal identifying information to do any of the following:
- Avoid legal consequences
- Obtain anything of value, an advantage, or any benefit
- Make a credit or financial transactions in the victim's name
The prosecution must prove that the defendant fraudulently impersonated the defendant. For example, a friend who uses another friend's credit card to pay for their pizza delivery has not committed identity fraud. However, stealing another person's Social Security number to seek out government aid in the other person's name is identity theft.Examples of Identity Theft in North Carolina
Using a person's identifying information to gain a benefit constitutes identity fraud. Identifying information includes all of the following types of identification:
- A social security number
- A state identification number or a driver's license number
- A debit or credit card number
- A savings or checking account number
- Personal identification, electronic signature, or password
- Using someone's mother's maiden name
- Electronic mail names and addresses (email addresses)
- Internet identification names or account numbers
- Digital signatures
- Biometric data
- Lawfully obtained credit information or information related to a
- commercial transaction
- Using any other type of identifying information that can be used to
- access someone's financial accounts
In North Carolina, court sentences depend on the severity of identity theft crime. Identity theft is a Class G felony that is punishable by a possible sentence of 8 months to a maximum of 47months of prison time. When the defendant stole the identities of three or more people, the crime is a Class F felony. The possible jail sentences if convicted of a class F felony range from 10 to 59 months.
Trafficking in stolen identities is a more serious crime, a Class E felony. The crime of trafficking in stolen identities prohibits a person from possessing multiple identifying documents that belong to the same person or to different people. In North Carolina, a Class E felony is punishable by a possible sentence of 15 to 88 months in prison. Courts can also impose a fine and order the defendant to pay the victim of identity theft restitution.
Restitution can include payment for any out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and costs for fixing the victim's credit history. If the victim needs help fixing his or her credit score or responding to collection actions or lawsuits, the judge can order the defendant to pay these costs.Defenses to Identity Theft
Determining the best defenses for identity theft depends on the facts of the case. In some cases, police officers violate the constitutional rights of defendants. When law enforcement officers gather evidence without the necessary probable cause, defendants can ask the court to throw the evidence out.
Or, the prosecutors might not have enough evidence to prove the elements of the crime. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we evaluate all of the facts of our client's cases. After conducting a thorough investigation, we will develop a successful legal strategy. We put our extensive legal experience to use. Our clients value our integrity, honesty, and or focus on keeping them well-informed throughout the process. Contact our Charlotte criminal defense law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.