Identity theft can take many forms, including the following:
- Forged checks
- Using someone’s personal information to get a credit card or obtain a loan
- Stealing credit or debit cards and using them to make purchases or withdraw cash
- Stealing someone’s Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return and receive a refund
Any type of identity theft is a serious charge that could result in maximum penalties of several years in prison, fines, and restitution to the victim.
Elements of Identity Theft
Along with improperly using someone else’s personal information, identity theft requires an intent to defraud. If you didn’t intend to commit identity theft, you didn’t have the required mental state to commit the crime.
There is no requirement that you stole personally identifiable information. Some cases of identity theft involve people who used their relatives, friends, or even their own children’s personal information to open credit card accounts. Even though they may have accessed this personal information legally, they may still have committed identity theft if they intended to defraud the victim.
Identity Theft Penalties
Identity theft is generally a Class G felony in North Carolina that can be punished by 8 to 31 months in prison. You may receive even more severe penalties if the victim was arrested because of identity theft or if you have stolen the identities of three or more individuals. In addition, you could face a civil lawsuit if the victim decides to sue you for damages caused by identity theft.
Trafficking in stolen identities can be charged if you steal personal information from someone and then sell or transfer it to a third party who commits identity theft. This is an even more serious crime that can result in up to 63 months in jail.
Your penalties may vary depending on your prior record, the facts of your case, and other factors. You should do everything you can to minimize the punishment you receive from an identity theft charge. Contact a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer right away if you’ve been charged with any type of identity theft crime.
King Law handles criminal defense matters in North and South Carolina, including identity theft, DWI, and embezzlement cases. Call 888-748-KING (5464) today to set up a consultation with one of our dedicated criminal defense attorneys.