11 Jul Wait, Who Are You? Why Identity Theft Is Such a Serious Crime
When someone takes or steals another person’s personal information and uses it for their own gain, they are committing the crime of identity theft. If they get caught, they could be facing a class 4 felony and even prison time.
Personal information can be mined from the internet, sold over the black market, or stolen from wallets, homes, or cars. But identity theft takes many forms. Even something as seemingly harmless as using an older sibling’s ID to enter a 21-and-up establishment can be a serious crime in Arizona. Here’s why.
Identity Theft in Arizona
Personal information like full names, birthdays, mother’s maiden name, social security numbers, account numbers, email passwords and many other details can be used to commit identity theft.
Here are some of the most common forms of identity theft in Arizona:
- Making unauthorized purchases on someone else’s credit cards, checks, or bank accounts
- Taking out unauthorized credit cards or loans
- Using another person’s credentials to access restricted information
- Renting an apartment or obtaining utilities under a different name
- Registering a vehicle in someone else’s name
- Using a different name to obtain medical information or treatments
- Re-routing a person’s mail
- Impersonating another person during interactions with law enforcement
- Presenting someone else’s ID as your own
All of these actions are illegal, and can lead to additional charges. Fraud and forgery are often added to charges of identity theft. For example, stealing personal information to apply for credit cards can include charges of document forgery along with identity theft.
Impersonating someone else, even if they are a member of your family, is still identity theft. Using an older sibling’s ID to purchase alcohol is a crime. So is using the credit card of an elderly relative. And misusing a family member’s identification can even be seen by the law as a form of domestic abuse.
Punishment for Identity Theft Could Mean a Prison Term
Identity theft charges are a class 4 felony, non-dangerous offense. Depending on whether or not it’s a first offense or a repeat offense, charges vary. But in every case, sentences can include prison time as well as fines and reparations
- First-time offenders could face 1 to 4 years in prison, with the possibility of parole
- On the second offense, prison time increases to 2 to 7 years
- Three or more offenses can have you facing 6 to 15 years
- Fines or reparations, including having to pay court costs
- Felony convictions also mean the loss of certain rights, like the privilege to vote or eligibility for social assistance
You Need a Certified Criminal Defense Specialist on Your Side
Spending time in prison, paying back fines and reparations, and having a felony charge on your record are only some of the ways that identity theft could derail your life.
When you are facing criminal charges that could take you away from your family and friends, it is important to make sure that your case gets reviewed thoroughly. A lawyer who knows you and cares about your case will work harder for you.
The best criminal defense attorney in Arizona can help you keep your life on track. Todd Coolidge has spent over 25 years successfully defending cases in the Arizona criminal courts, and his team knows all the ins and outs of the law.
Don’t take the risk with an inexperienced lawyer—contact us today for a consultation.