Identity Theft in the State of Washington (And How We Can Help You)
Identity theft is quite common nowadays due to the rapid emergence of technology and media outlets. In the State of Washington, it is defined as knowingly using, possessing, or obtaining another person’s financial information or means of identification with the intent to commit a crime. It is important to note that this applies whether or not the person to whom the identity belongs to is living or deceased. Bank account information, passwords, state identification, phone number, essentially any information that ties back to the original identity is part of someone’s “financial information” or “means of identification”.
What are the possible penalties for identity theft?
Under Washington law, identity theft has two levels with both of them being considered felonies.
Identity Theft 2nd Degree: Identity theft in the Second Degree is when someone uses another’s personally identifying or financial information to illegally procure money, goods, or services amounting to less than $1500. Identity theft in the Second Degree is a class C felony and it comes with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
Identity Theft 1st Degree: Stealing someone else’s financial information or means of identification in order to illegally obtain over $1,500.00 in money, goods, or services is subject to the fines and penalties under Identity Theft in the First Degree. Additionally, you may be charged with Identity Theft in the First Degree if you targeted an individual who is senior of age or in a vulnerable state no matter how much was taken. Identity Theft in the First Degree is a class B felony and carries up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000.00 fine.
What should I do if I am charged with Identity Theft?
In order to safeguard both your freedom and criminal record is to hire a lawyer as soon as you learn that you are being charged. The motive of the perpetrator and the environment in which it takes place is very important to the case. Having a lawyer that has the necessary experience and knowledge will be crucial to the defense of your case as there is often extensive amounts of research and collection of evidence.
What are the possible defenses for Identity Theft?
With identity theft being such a major problem in the United States, along with high publicity, it is actively fought against by the general public. What they don’t mention is how often people might be falsely accused of identity theft. Keeping that in mind, there are several defenses that may work out in your case.
Intent: The first and arguably the most important element that the prosecution must prove is your intent to obtain financial or other identifying information with the to commit a crime. For instance someone you know may have used your computer recently to purchase something online, and you accidentally purchase something for yourself with their card loaded on your computer. You may be charged with identity theft if the person whose financial information you used thinks you were trying to steal their identity. In this case there is a clear lack of intent for you to have stolen their information.
Unlawful Search and Seizure: If the prosecution obtained evidence against you without a proper warrant or consent then they committed unlawful search and seizure. Any evidence that was procured in this manner can be dismissed in the court of law since the evidence will come into question and will no longer be trusted.
Why the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer?
Identity Theft can be a very complex and highly technical area of law, and it requires attorneys that are highly skilled and experienced. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer wants to represent you and will assign an attorney that will be passionate about defending you to the fullest extent of the law. Our attorneys work diligently to help our clients navigate strenuous circumstances such as these, along with providing great end results.
Set up a free consultation with the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer today. Don’t wait.