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Identity theft cases are alarmingly on the rise in Alabama (along with many other places), and this has resulted in an increase in enforcement of identity theft laws as well as punishments associated with such cases. Trafficking in stolen identities and identity theft are the two charges often seen in Alabama in this category.

The term identity theft can refer to a good number of activities wherein an individual, without the authorization of the person, uses their identity to obtain services, goods, or secure employment. The identity might also be used to obtain the victim’s personal information for some kind of gain or benefit.

The Consumer Identity Protection Act introduced in Alabama in 2001 addresses this issue. Considered a serious crime in the state, identity theft is classified as a Class B felony that can result in up to 20 years of imprisonment. A Shelby County identity theft lawyer can help try to minimize the damage done from identity theft charges. Individuals should consult a capable identity theft attorney that could advocate for them.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the act of acquiring any of the following without permission from an individual and with the aim of defrauding them:

  • Identity-related information that can help gain access to certain benefits, financial resources, or identification documents
  • Employment using a person’s identification (illegal aliens often employ this method)
  • Services or goods with the help of an individual’s identification documents

Trading in Stolen Identities

This refers to creating, selling, or buying any identifying information or documents without authorization from a person, with the purpose of indulging in identity theft. If someone is in possession of at least five identification documents of one individual or identifying information related to at least five different individuals, without their authorization, it can be considered that these identities are in the person’s possession in violation of the law. For more information, get in touch with a Shelby County identity theft lawyer today.

Alabama Criminal Penalties

Criminal penalties in Alabama are classified from A to C, where A is the highest and C the lowest. These crimes can result in the following punishments depending on their severity. A Class B felony, identity theft can fetch a maximum fine of $30,000 as well as between 2 and 20 years of imprisonment. Trafficking in stolen identities is also classified as a Class B felony.

A Class C felony, obstruction of justice using a false identity, carries a maximum fine of $15,000 as well as a prison term ranging between one to ten years. Offenders are also required to compensate the victims for any financial losses incurred including the expense related to correction of the victim’s credit reports as well as anything spent on proceedings aimed at eliminating liens or debts that resulted from the theft. Defendants also need to pay $25 for each day spent in jail.

Possible Defenses

The identity theft criminal statute is not applicable to minors who were attempting to gain privileges they are denied. Examples include using someone else’s ID to buy alcohol, cigarettes, or to gain entry into a bar. Innocence or lack of intent is also a potential defense. For example, if you believed that you were authorized by your family member to purchase groceries with their debit card. Though what could come in to play here is the type of groceries that were bought.

Talking to a Shelby County Identity Theft Attorney

If you or a loved one find yourself facing identity theft charges, do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Shelby County identity theft lawyer who can begin building you the most robust defense possible. Speak to an experienced attorney today.