Tuscaloosa Identity Theft Lawyer
Using another person’s identity without their permission for personal benefit is a serious crime in Tuscaloosa. Lawmakers have tried to contain instances of identity—one of the many theft crimes codified by Alabama state law—by assigning particularly harsh penalties to the practice.
While facing charges for identity theft can be overwhelming, a Tuscaloosa identity theft lawyer could help you challenge the prosecutor’s criminal allegations. With a well-practiced fraud attorney by your side, you could more proactively stand up for your rights and construct a thorough defense strategy.
What Constitutes Identity Theft?
Alabama Code §13A-8-192 prohibits the use of someone else’s identification to:
- Access identifying information that would help in obtaining that person’s finances, other identifying documentation, or their benefits
- Obtain goods or services
- Obtain identification documents in the other person’s name
- Get a job or other employment
It should be noted that this conduct only breaks the law if it was done with the intent to defraud someone else for personal gain, or for the gain of another individual. Likewise, the act would only be identity theft if it occurred without the other person’s authorization, consent, or permission. An identify theft lawyer in Tuscaloosa could further clarify how this offense is defined and how it might apply under particular circumstances.
The Costs of a Conviction for Identity Theft
In Tuscaloosa, identity theft is a Class B felony. A conviction for this offense carries a jail sentence of between two and 20 years and fines of up to $30,000.
In conjunction with the fines and jail time, a convicted person is often required to pay restitution to the individual whose identity was allegedly stolen. The amount of restitution required, which is dictated by the amount allegedly taken, can quickly outpace the fine in some circumstances.
Since identity theft is a felony, defendants could face significant collateral consequences after meeting the requirements of their conviction. Employers are often less likely to trust convicted individuals with important financial information, and a prior conviction for a felony-level offense similar to identity theft can also affect a person’s voting rights.
Potential Statutory Defenses
Several legal defenses can be raised to combat a charge of identity theft. Talking to an identity theft attorney in Tuscaloosa could be the best way to learn which defense strategies a person may have available to them in their case.
A common identity theft defense is that the accuser gave the defendant their consent to use their information. In such cases, the charge of identity theft would amount to no more than a misunderstanding. Proving that the accuser had actually given their permission to use their information for a given purpose, or had even provided instructions to do so, may lead to a dismissal of the charges.
Lack of Intent
Prosecutors trying to obtain a conviction for a charge of identity theft must show that the conduct occurred with the intent to defraud someone else. Challenging whatever evidence the prosecution may use to show this intent is a common defense strategy for a seasoned legal representative to undertake.
Contact a Tuscaloosa Identity Theft Attorney
If you were charged with identity theft, a Tuscaloosa identity theft lawyer could help you fight against these allegations. Given the consequences of a criminal conviction, speaking with a hard-working attorney may be essential to protecting your future. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.