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Being accused of committing identity theft can change the course of your life. The penalties of a conviction are severe, and the social stigmatization that comes with a prior conviction of identity theft is not insignificant – identity theft has become a very prominent offense that people and politicians like to frown upon.

However, there are ways to raise effective legal defenses to an allegation of identity theft that a Birmingham identity theft lawyer could help you explore. A skilled fraud attorney could work with you to build a case that protects your best interests and present it at trial in pursuit of a positive outcome.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft happens when an individual obtains someone else’s identifying information without their consent, either for personal gain and for the purpose of defrauding that other person. The criminal offense of identity theft is codified in Alabama Criminal Code §13A-8-192.

Identity theft might be as simple as using someone else’s credit card to make a purchase without their approval or knowledge, or it may be using someone else’s identity to receive financial assistance or even medical help. It can also be as complex as hacking into a company’s database of customer records to copy Social Security Numbers, names, and addresses to sell. Whatever situation lead to charges for identity theft, a Birmingham attorney could help construct a thorough defense.

Types of Personal Information for Identity Theft

As an accomplished Birmingham identity theft lawyer could explain, an important aspect of the offense of identity theft is the types of identifying information that must be present to justify a criminal charge. In this sense, AL Crim. Code §13A-8-191 is written very broadly, as it includes nearly anything that could be used to identify someone. This may entail:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Credit or debit card numbers
  • Social Security Number
  • Fingerprints
  • Passwords
  • Personal Identification Numbers (PINs)

Importantly, one of the few types of identifying information that is not listed in the statute is someone’s physical signature. Using someone else’s signature for illicit purposes would constitute the similar but separate offense of forgery.

Punishments for a Conviction of Identity Theft

In Birmingham, identity theft is a Class B felony. These felony-level offenses carry jail terms of between two and 20 years upon conviction, and they may also lead to fines of up to $30,000.

Once any fines and jail time have been paid and completed, there are still other collateral consequences of an identity theft conviction to deal with. Since identity theft is a felony offense, the blemish on a convicted person’s criminal history could limit their employment and housing options as well as make it difficult to get a loan.

Many courts might also require a defendant convicted of identity theft to pay restitution to the accuser, including any interest that has accumulated. A Birmingham lawyer could help defend someone accused of identity theft and work diligently to help pursue a more favorable resolution to their case.

Retain a Birmingham Identity Theft Attorney to Defend Your Rights

If you were accused of identity theft, hiring a defense attorney could be the best way to raise effective legal arguments that promote your best interests. Your future is at stake, and the penalties associated with a conviction are high. Call a Birmingham identity theft lawyer today to get started on your case.