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Are you facing an identity theft charge?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | White Collar Crimes |

Today’s technology makes it easier for people to commit crimes such as identity theft, which is a common white-collar crime in Indiana.

Although identity theft is a non-violent crime, it is still a serious charge that comes with major potential penalties.

If you are charged with identity theft in Indiana, it is important to act quickly and build a defense. You could face state or federal charges and the prosecution may have documents of evidence against you by the time you are arrested.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is generally defined as using someone else’s personal information to obtain something valuable or to commit another crime.

Personal information can include a person’s name, social security number, bank information, insurance information or any other private information that is necessary to gain something. One reason an identity theft charge can be serious is you could face a separate charge for each transaction you make using someone else’s information.

There are many scenarios that could result in an identity theft charge even if you did not mean to commit the crime. This is a key point because identity theft is a form of fraud and intent to commit the crime is necessary to prove fraud.

Potential defenses to an identity theft charge

Lack of intent or mistake is a defense that could be used in this type of situation. Mistake is a common defense to an identity theft charge.

For example, you might be found to possess someone else’s personal information. Perhaps it was sent to you accidentally. Without any proof that you intended to do something illegal with the information, you cannot be convicted of identity theft.

Consent is another common identity theft defense. You may have mistakenly believed that you had permission to use the other person’s information.

Your defense might be that you are a victim of identity theft yourself due to a case of mistaken identity.

Many people who commit identity theft use phony identities when they are arrested. If your identity is used by an identity thief, you can defend yourself by showing that you are the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Entrapment is another defense although it is less common. This happens when you had no intent or desire to break the law but government agents, such as police officers, encouraged you to do so. This defense usually applies only in specific circumstances.

Examine your case for procedural defenses

There could be procedural defenses available. Police officers and prosecutors must follow certain rules through each step of a criminal case. Violating any one of these rules could lead to evidence being excluded from the case or the case being dismissed entirely.

An identity theft charge or conviction can have serious legal and personal consequences, damaging your reputation and career.

Any criminal charge requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. A strong defense can plant doubt in a jury’s mind and result in a dismissal.