PHILADELPHIA IDENTITY THEFT LAWYER
In Pennsylvania, identity theft is an offense that can cause serious consequences for an offender. While most identity theft cases are charged as misdemeanors, they still carry severe penalties. The various ways that a person could utilize technology to adopt another person’s identity means that criminal statutes will continue to be updated to cover all the possible ways to commit this offense. You should be aware of what illegal acts could lead to you being charged with identity theft. If you or a family member was arrested for identity theft or using stolen information, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia identity theft lawyer today.
Criminal defense attorney Lloyd Long has over a decade of legal experience dealing with complex criminal cases in Pennsylvania. Armed with a detailed understanding of Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, he will use this knowledge to help you build a stronger defense. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, contact the Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 525-6818, or contact us online.
Pennsylvania Identity Theft Laws
Pennsylvania’s identity theft statute states that it is illegal to assume the identity of another person and to use that information to commit an act without the consent of the victim. The statute also notes that it does not matter how the offender came into possession of the sensitive information of another person. This implies that even if you utilized sensitive information of a person you reside with, you could still be arrested for identity theft if you did not obtain their consent beforehand.
An offender can be charged with multiple identity theft offenses depending on how many times he or she stole or used another individual’s personal information. Common examples of identity theft include:
- Using identifying information to change a person’s address
- Ordering a passport using another person’s name
- Creating fraudulent bank accounts using stolen information or using a stolen credit card
- Using someone’s social security number to gain access to government benefits
- Using another person’s medical identification to seek treatment
The severity of an identity theft charge also hinges on the value of items or services received while using someone’s identity. For example, if you obtain less than $2,000 worth of goods or services with a stolen identity, you will be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. If you received $2,000 or more of goods or services, you would instead be charged with a third degree felony.
If a stolen identity is used to advance a criminal conspiracy, the total value of goods or services does not matter, and the offender will be charged with a felony of the third degree. An example of a criminal conspiracy, in this case, could be using a stolen credit card to buy equipment to commit a robbery. Additionally, if the offender commits identity theft against a senior citizen (an individual age 60 or older), a mentally impaired person, a person under the age of 18, or another vulnerable individual, the offense can be upgraded to a more serious charge.
To learn more about identity theft charges in Pennsylvania, you should speak with an experienced criminal attorney.
Pennsylvania Identity Theft Penalties
If you are convicted of identity theft, the sentence you receive will depend on the circumstances of your offense. As mentioned above, using stolen information to receive less than $2,000 in products or services is a first degree misdemeanor. In Pennsylvania, there are three categories of misdemeanors. First degree misdemeanors carry a maximum five-year sentence, while second and third misdemeanors carry maximum two- and one-year prison sentences, respectively. If you are convicted of a first degree misdemeanor, you can be ordered to pay up to $10,000 in criminal fines in addition to facing a prison sentence. The fines for second an third degree misdemeanors are $5,000 and $2,000 respectively.
If you were arrested for taking more than $2,000 worth of goods with another person’s identity, you would be charged with a third degree felony. Similar to the grading for misdemeanors, third degree felonies are the least severe type of felony in Pennsylvania. However, if you are convicted of a third degree felony, you can still be sentenced to up to seven years in prison and have to pay $15,000 in fines. This is also the penalty for using a stolen identity to further a criminal conspiracy.
You should also remember that these offenses can be upgraded if you commit identity theft against a highly vulnerable individual. This means that your first degree misdemeanor can be upgraded to a third degree felony, or a third degree felony can turn into a second degree felony. That is significant because second degree felonies carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, as opposed to seven years for a third degree felony.
Philadelphia Identity Theft Defense Attorney
If you or a family member was arrested for stealing someone’s identity, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia identity theft attorney today. The Law Offices of Lloyd Long is prepared to aggressively fight your identity theft case. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (215) 525-6818, or contact the Law Offices of Lloyd Long online today.