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California Identity Theft Law: Penalties And Defenses Available

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Identity theft became a big buzzword years ago, as technology opened up more doors to crime. The government stepped in and created new laws, but at the same time consumers became concerned over their security and privacy. Fast-forward to today, and identity theft is one of the crimes that is severely punished in California.

If you have been accused of this crime, there is a lot you need to know, including the California identity theft law, penalties and possible defenses.

California Identity Theft Law

In our state, identity theft crime falls under Penal Code Section 528-539, also referred to as the California Identity Theft Statute. Plainly stated, in California, it is against the law to use someone else’s identifying information for unlawful purposes. For example, it is illegal to open a credit account in another person’s name without his or her consent. If you are found guilty of such a crime, you could be facing significant consequences.

Punishment For Identity Theft

The penalties for a California identity theft conviction may include a fine, imprisonment and more. The severity of the punishment depends on whether the offense is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.

There is another consequence that can be just as damaging — a criminal record. An identity theft charge on your criminal record could negatively impact your future, making it difficult to obtain employment and occupational licenses. Plus, there tends to be a stigma associated with this crime.

When You Didn’t Do It

Despite what the prosecution will want the jury to believe, you are not automatically guilty. The prosecutor will need to prove that you had an unlawful purpose for having someone’s personal identifying information.

While many forms of identity theft seem straightforward, some people are falsely accused of this crime. You may have had consent to use the information or not had an unlawful purpose in mind. In fact, the entire allegation against you may be unwarranted. That is where a Torrance criminal lawyer can step in and help you.

An experienced attorney will be able to review the evidence against you and the details of your situation to build a strong defense on your behalf. To learn more, contact Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, today at 424-552-3901. We can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.