4th Nov 2015

When a person is accused of identity theft, he or she may reach out to a South Florida criminal defense attorney.  A South Florida criminal defense attorney explains the relevant criminal statutes and uses this information to help uncover potential legal defenses to the charges.  There are many criminal charges in Florida that pertain to identity theft crimes.

Using or Possessing Personal Identification Information

One Florida criminal statute makes it unlawful for one person to use or possess another person’s personal identifying information in a fraudulent manner without that individual’s consent.  There is a separate criminal statute that pertains to using someone’s personal identification information when that person is deceased.  Likewise, there is a statute that prohibits using a minor’s information without the minor’s permission or the minor of his or her parent or legal guardian.

Additionally, a separate criminal statute prohibits using someone else’s personal identifying information in order to harass that individual.

Using or Possessing Fake Personal Identification Information

Another criminal statute makes it unlawful for a person to use or possess falsified or fictitious personal identification with the intent to commit fraud.

Potential Punishments

Because there are so many identity theft statutes covering a number of crimes, the potential punishment depends on the actual charge.  Additionally, information specific to the crime, such as the amount of money procured through fraud affects the applicable punishment.  Potential charges range between a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree felony.  The maximum punishment for a second degree misdemeanor is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine while the maximum punishment for a first degree felony is 30 years to life in prison and a fine of $10,000.   Any fines are in addition to restitution that is paid to the victims of the crime.

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