Hanover Identity Theft Lawyer

Identity theft is a growing concern in Hanover for consumers and law enforcement officials alike. However, in their zeal to protect people from identity theft, police may issue charges where they are not warranted.

Regardless of the circumstances, if you are facing charges involving identity theft or misrepresentation, it is wise to take proactive steps to protect your rights and your future. A Hanover identity theft lawyer could provide you with knowledge of the specific offense involved, the potential penalties, and options for defending against the charges.

When you work with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer, your attorney may provide advice and begin collecting evidence immediately to help you reach a positive outcome.

Possible Penalties for an Identity Theft Conviction

The severity of the charges and the corresponding penalties for identity theft vary depending on certain factors. If the identity theft resulted in a financial loss for someone of $500 or more, that makes the offense more serious, as does the existence of prior identity theft offenses. In addition, penalties will also increase if the theft involves information from more people, or if a stolen identity is used hinder a criminal investigation.

Identity theft offenses are classified as follows:

  • If any loss is under $500 and no prior convictions, Class 1 misdemeanor
  • If the loss is $500 or more, Class 6 felony
  • For subsequent convictions, Class 6 felony
  • If information is taken from five or more people, Class 5 felony
  • If information is taken from 50 or more people, Class 4 felony
  • If information was appropriated to avoid arrest, summons or prosecution, Class 5 felony

Each classification carries a maximum term of imprisonment and fine that may be issued. In addition, those convicted of identity theft may be required to provide restitution to the person whose information was used. If the identity of a deceased person was appropriated, restitution may be paid to the estate of the decedent.

For Class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum term of imprisonment is one year. The maximum term increases to five years for a Class 6 felony, and ten years for a Class 4 or 5 felony.  For fines, the maximum is $2,500 for a Class 1 misdemeanor or Class 5 or 6 felony, but the maximum fine jumps to $100,000 for a Class 4 felony.

What Constitutes Identity Theft?

In general terms, someone commits identity theft under Va. Code Ann. §18.2-186.3 when they use the identifying information of another person without permission to fraudulently obtain money, credit, goods, services or other benefits.

The statutory section also prohibits selling or distributing identifying information to others to enable them to fraudulently obtain benefits. And it is unlawful for someone to use the information of another person, whether alive or dead or even fictitious, to avoid criminal prosecution.

Identifying information includes someone’s name, birthdate, social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, fingerprints, passwords and credit card numbers. The definition is written broadly to cover virtually any number or data that could be used to access information or obtain something of value.

Talk to a Hanover Identity Theft Attorney Today

In addition to the potential criminal penalties, a conviction for identity theft creates a criminal record that can interfere with efforts to find employment, obtain credit, secure housing, and even establish personal relationships. So, if you are facing charges of identity theft, it is wise to take the charges seriously.

When you talk to a knowledgeable Hanover identity theft lawyer, you could learn how the laws apply to the circumstances of your case and what options you have for defending against the charges. An attorney could also help you protect your rights and avoid actions that could jeopardize your case. To learn how to get started building your defense, call now.