Defending Against Identity Theft Charges in Florida


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Florida has the highest reports of identity theft of all states. Due to the prevalence of the crime, prosecutors take this offense very seriously. If facing this charge, there are several important considerations to keep in mind.

Types of Identity Theft in Florida

There are several different types of identity theft charges in Florida. These include the following and more:
Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information
It is illegally to fraudulently use or be in possession with the intent to fraudulently use another personís personal identifying information without their permission. This type of information includes the personís name, social security number or date of birth. This crime is usually considered a third degree felony. However, if the value of what is gained from the theft is more than $5,000, it can be charged as a second degree felony. If 10 to 19 peopleís identities are stolen, the offense may be charged as a second degree felony.

Criminal Use of Personal Identification to Harass

If the personal identification is stolen and used to harass another individual, this crime may be charged. It is typically considered a misdemeanor offense in the first degree.

Counterfeit or Fictitious Personal Identification Information
Being in possession of counterfeit personal identification information or using it with the intent to commit fraud is considered a felony offense.

Obtaining Property by False Personation

The crime of larceny may be charged when a person impersonates another person in order to get property out of it. This offense is a wobbler which may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the value of the property acquired in the process.

Use of a Minorís Personal Identification Information

It is unlawful to use the personal identification information of a minor in a willful and fraudulent manner without the childís permission or without the permission of the minorís parents. This offense is charged as a second degree felony. A minorís own parents can even face these charges.

Use of a Deceased Personís Personal Identification Information

It is illegal to fraudulently use or possess the personal identification information of someone who has died. This crime is usually charged as a third degree felony. However, it can be charged as a second degree felony when the identification is used to procure something with a value of more than $5,000. If the value of the acquired property is more than $50,000, the defendant can face charges of a first degree felony. If the identification was used to procure property with a value of more than $100,000 or if the crime involved the theft of identification of more than 30 individuals, the offense is considered a first degree felony. The defendant will face a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years.

Potential Penalties

The penalties for an identity theft conviction are serious. A third degree felony carries a maximum sentence of five year imprisonment and a fine up to $5,000. A second degree felony carries a potential sentence up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000. A first degree felony can result in between 30 years to life in prison along with a fine up to 10,000. A conviction for a first degree misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence of a year and a fine of $1,000. A second degree misdemeanor charge can result in a maximum of 60 days in jail and a fine of $500. Some identity theft charges have a mandatory minimum sentence. This means that the judge will have to order at least this minimum sentence. In addition to prison time and fines, a criminal defendant may have to pay restitution to the victim.

Civil Penalties

In addition to any criminal penalties that may result, a defendant may also face civil consequences. Victims may be able to receive payment for the harm that the defendant caused. Defendants who are convicted may develop a serious criminal record which can bar them from potential career paths. They may also have difficulty finding employment, opening a bank account or receiving housing.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer When Facing Identity Theft Charges

Due to the serious nature of the criminal and civil consequences that can result in the event of a conviction, it is important to contact a criminal defense lawyer promptly if you discover that you are under suspicion for identity theft. A criminal defense lawyer can take the necessary steps to protect your rights and ensure that you are aware of them throughout each step of the process.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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