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Pennsylvania Identity Theft Lawyer
Pennsylvania law gives the Attorney General or District Attorney broad authority to investigate and prosecute identity theft. If you commit the offense of identity theft, you may be prosecuted in the place where you bought or used someone’s identifying information, or in the location where the victim lived. If the identifying information was related to someone’s business or job, you can also be prosecuted where the victim worked. This means even if you do not live in Pennsylvania, you could still face criminal charges there if you have been accused of stealing the identity of someone who lives or works in the state. As a result if you’ve been charged with a crime in PA, you should strongly consider getting help from a Pennsylvania identity theft lawyer as soon as possible.
Pennsylvania Laws on Identity Theft
As a Pennsylvania identity theft lawyer can explain, Pennsylvania Code Section 4210 defines the crime of identity theft and imposes penalties for stealing someone else’s identifying information.
Under this law, you can be convicted of identity theft if all of the following are true:
- You obtain or possess someone else’s identifying information.
- You possess or use the identifying information without the consent of the rightful owner.
- The identifying information is possessed or used in furtherance of any unlawful purpose.
Each time you have or use someone’s identifying information without permission for an unlawful purpose, you are guilty of committing an identity theft offense. This means if you have two separate people’s identifying information, or if you use the same person’s identifying information to break the law on two separate occasions, you can be charged with two counts of identity theft. Based on this type of escalation, charges can rack up quickly, which is why it is prudent to consult a Pennsylvania identity theft lawyer as soon as you are charged.
Identity Theft Penalties
The severity of your charges is determined based on the value of property and services obtained through the theft of someone’s identity, and the total amount you stole in each separate offense will be added up when considering your charges.
- If the total amount of property, goods, and services illegally obtained was less than $2,000, you will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor.
- If the total value of items and services obtained illegally due to identity theft totaled $2,000 or more, you will be charged with a third degree felony.
Regardless of the total amount of goods, property, and assets stolen, you face third degree felony charges if the identity theft was part of a criminal conspiracy. You also face second degree felony charges if you are convicted of identity theft for a third or subsequent time. If the victim is 60 or older, you will be charged with a more serious offense.
In addition to criminal penalties, Code Section 1107.1 gives the court the authority to require you make restitution for all reasonable expenses incurred by the victim to investigate identity theft; to correct negative credit reports due to identity theft; and to bring civil or criminal actions related to identity theft.
How a Pennsylvania Identity Theft Lawyer Can Help You
You can fight charges for identity theft. In some cases, you can argue that you had permission to possess the identifying information; or that you did not knowingly possess someone else’s identifying details. You could also argue that the prosecutor didn’t prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt, or that you had no unlawful purpose for having someone else’s identifying data.
A Pennsylvania identity theft lawyer can help you to raise defenses in court, or to negotiate a plea bargain if you don’t want to take your chances at trial. Contact an identity theft attorney in Pennsylvania today to learn more about your legal options after you have been charged with identity theft.