San Jose Identity Theft Lawyer Maureen Baldwin
Most of us understand what the crime of theft involves. Taking of goods valued at $950 or above is grand theft, California Penal Code 484/487, which is most often charged as a felony but can be charged as a misdemeanor. Petty theft, California Penal Code 484/488 is the taking of goods valued at less than $950.00. Grand theft can result in prison exposure, or exposure to a prison sentence served at the county jail. A Petty theft sentence can be a fine, or some amount of jail time, or a program which may result in a clear record after classes and community service hours, depending on the local jurisdiction.
Identity theft in violation of California Penal Code Section 530 is a type of theft where the defendant uses the identity of another in an effort to assume the victim’s identity and take on a debt or to assume money in that person’s name. This is a felony which can be punished in prison, a prison sentence served in the county jail, or can be reduced to a misdemeanor. The most common type of identity theft is opening credit card accounts, or cashing checks using someone else’s information. This is why credit card account information and social security numbers should be closely guarded.
Identity theft has grown, of course, now that so many transactions are credit or debit transactions, and are done over the internet instead of face to face. People are careless about some amount of their personal information when it gets placed on social networks.
California Penal Code 530.5 makes it a felony to obtain personal identifying information and to use that information for any unlawful purpose, usually an intent to defraud—such as false mortgages in real estate, using the credit information of another to purchase a car, open a credit account, even if you pay the debts off yourself.
Very importantly, if you are a victim of identity theft, you should call the police and your credit accounts. Any attorney will inform you that as a victim, the police are your first line of defense. This is set out in California Penal Code Section 530.6. It becomes more complicated when a person has used your identity and committed crimes. For instance, an identity thief who has obtained your Drivers’ license information and received tickets or even a DUI under your name! Or someone who has taken money from another while falsely representing themselves to be you. In this situation, the court can be petitioned under California Penal Code 530.6(b) for a judicial determination of factual innocence. Some people do not discover they have had their identities stolen until they apply for jobs or try to obtain a gun permit only to be told they have a criminal record!
If you are charged with identity theft, you need an attorney. The prosecution must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are a victim of identity theft, you should call the police. If your criminal record has been wrongfully tainted by another person committing crimes in your name, a law enforcement investigation should be conducted, but many times police inform that person to obtain a lawyer to straighten out the criminal record.
Get an Experienced San Jose Identity Theft Lawyer
The San Jose Criminal Law office is familiar with this type of “modern” theft and is ready to help you.
For more information on identity theft charges and defense please contact San Jose identity theft lawyer Maureen Baldwin today.