Defenses Against Charges of Identity Theft in CaliforniaIdentity theft is a growing problem in California. According to the latest statistics from the Insurance Information Institute, there were 391,517 reports of identity theft in California in 2021. Identity theft costs victims and businesses billions each year.

In California, identity occurs when an individual willfully obtains or takes someone’s personal identifying information and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, such as to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person. Identity theft also includes selling, transferring, or providing the personal identifying information of another person, without that person’s consent, to commit fraud; or selling, transferring, or providing this information with the knowledge that it will be used to commit fraud.

Personal identifying information can include a person’s name, date of birth, address and telephone number, tax I.D. and social security numbers, bank account and credit card account information, and birth and death certificates. Identity theft is used to fraudulently obtain government benefits, credit cards, business or personal loans, or commit tax fraud.

Penalties for Identity Theft in California

Prosecutors take identity theft very seriously in California. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with either misdemeanor or felony identity theft.

A conviction for misdemeanor identity theft in California could get you up to a year in county jail and/or fines of up to $1,000. A conviction for felony identity theft in California could get you up to three years in state prison and maximum fines of $10,000.

Defenses Against Charges of Identity Theft in California

In addition to the fines and jail time, the conviction will permanently remain on your public record, making it difficult for you to obtain certain jobs, qualify for credit or loans, and attend the school of your choice.

If you have been wrongfully charged with identity theft in Orange County, CA, it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your rights. There can be many possible defenses against charges of identity theft, including:

  • The personal identifying information was not taken for a fraudulent or unlawful purpose.
  • The taking of the personal identifying information was an accident and not a willful act.
  • There was no intent to use the personal identifying information to defraud someone.

Speak to an Orange County, CA Identity Theft Defense Attorney

The success of a defense strategy depends on the skills and experience of the attorney representing the accused. Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. This gives him an edge most criminal defense attorneys don’t have. He knows the tactics the prosecution will use to get their conviction and how to counter their charges. In many instances, Jim’s representation results in reduced or dismissed charges for his clients.

Don’t give up – remember, being charged with a crime isn’t the same as being convicted. There are defenses against any identity theft charges. Don’t let a conviction for identity theft ruin your life – contact the law office of Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney Jim Tanizaki to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.