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Identity Theft Just Because You’ve Been Charged With a Crime, Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Defend Yourself

Identity Theft Attorney in Westchester

According to the New York Attorney General’s Office, identity theft is “the unlawful use of an individual’s personal identification information.”

Most of the time, this means obtaining access to someone’s personal information and using that information to commit other illegal activities. We’ll talk about some of those other activities in a moment, but the point here is that identity theft charges are frequently accompanied by charges for other crimes.

Is Identity Theft Considered a Misdemeanor?

In itself, identity theft is an extremely serious charge. Even in the most minor cases, identity theft is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail. More severe penalties are likely for more severe forms of identity theft. Considering the fact that these charges are often accompanied by other charges, an individual facing an accusation of identity theft could potentially face years in prison.

If you have been charged with identity theft, contact an attorney as soon as you can. You need a plan to defend yourself, and an experienced attorney will be able to ensure you get the best treatment possible. It’s a mistake to go it alone in these cases.

Contact The Law Office of Michael D. Litman today, and we’ll make sure you’re given the best chance to defend yourself by calling (914) 268-6855.

Degrees and Penalties

There are four kinds of offenses that are labeled as identity theft:

  • Third degree identity theft occurs when a person uses another person’s identity to obtain goods, money, etc., in the other person’s name. It also occurs when a person takes someone else’s identity and uses it to commit another crime. Third degree identity theft is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.
  • Second degree identity theft occurs when the value of the goods, money, etc., obtained by identity theft is greater than $500. It also applies in the case of repeated identity theft, or attempting to commit a felony under someone else’s identity. It is a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
  • First degree identity theft occurs when the value of goods, money, etc., exceeds $2,000. It also applies when a person is guilty of multiple second-degree charges or when a person attempts at least a class D felony under another person’s identity. First degree identity theft is a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison.
  • Aggravated identity theft occurs when a person knowingly steals the identity of a member of the armed forces and uses it to cause the service member a loss of at least $500. This is a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Other Illegal Activities Often Combined with Identity Theft

Identity theft is often combined with other illegal activities.

Some of the more common activities that identity theft accompanies include:

  • Using the stolen identity to establish credit
  • Making large purchases under another person’s name
  • Applying for loans under another person’s name
  • Searching for employment while posing as someone else

When these crimes occur in combination with identity theft, the charges applied (and therefore the possible penalties) will grow ever more severe.

What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested

If you are arrested for identity theft, or for any other criminal activity, remember that you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say could potentially incriminate you, so the best thing to do is to say nothing at all. While it may be tempting to try to talk yourself out of getting arrested, this will probably not work, and it only increases the likelihood that you’ll say something that will be used against you. The smartest course of action is to keep quiet and demand to speak to an attorney.

Contact Us Today

That being said, the next thing you need to do is talk to an attorney. If you’re facing charges of identity theft, the state will do all it can to make sure you go away for a very long time. You need someone with experience to help you defend yourself against these charges. Before you say anything at all, make sure you talk to an attorney you can trust. You’re going to need experienced counsel to find the best possible course of action.

If you find yourself in need of legal counsel, contact The Law Office of Michael D. Litman online or call us at (914) 618-3074.

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