Alpharetta Identity Theft Lawyer
As technological advances have continued, identity theft has become an increasingly common criminal offense at both the state and federal levels. Penalties for even a first offense can be severe. An identity fraud conviction can cause difficulties for you when searching for employment, looking for a place to live, or trying to get a loan. An Alpharetta identity theft lawyer may be able to defend you against these criminal charges and work to resolve your case in the most positive manner possible.
You have a lot at stake in an identity theft case, including your reputation in the community, your family, your job, and your freedom. Whether you are a target of an investigation or have been arrested, you are likely to need an experienced criminal attorney who can guide you every step of the way. Enlisting legal help could enable you to navigate the criminal justice system more efficiently and know what to expect at each stage of the process.
Elements of an Identity Theft Charge
The Official Code of Georgia § 16-9-121 sets forth the elements of the criminal offense of identity fraud. Individuals commit this crime when they:
- Fraudulently use, or possess with intent to use, identifying information belonging to another person without consent
- Use the identifying information of a child under the age of 18 of whom they have custody
- Fraudulently use, or possess with intent to use, identifying information belonging to a deceased person
- Creating, using, or possessing with intent to use identifying information of a fictitious person for fraudulent purposes
Identity fraud also includes fraudulently creating, using, or possessing with intent to use false or counterfeit identifying information of others to commit a fraud or crime against another person. Individuals could also face identity fraud charges when they accept identifying information that they know to be false, stolen, or counterfeit for identification purposes. As the penalties for any of these varieties of identity theft may be severe, consulting an identity theft lawyer in Alpharetta for advice may be wise.
Penalties for Alpharetta Identity Theft
Identity theft crimes are felonies under Georgia law. For a first offense under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-126, individuals may face sentences of incarceration from one to ten years, as well as fines of up to $100,000. A second or subsequent offense could result in between three and 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000.
In some cases, specific factors may lead to an aggravated identity theft charge. Fines for an aggravated identity fraud conviction can be as much as $250,000, and prison sentences can increase to 15 years. However, identity theft cases does not always involve the theft of anything of value. In this situation, if the individuals were less than 21 years of age, then the maximum sentence would be three years with a maximum fine of $5,000.
Each incident of identity theft is a separate criminal charge. As part of its order, a sentencing court also can order individuals to pay restitution to any consumers or businesses that experienced financial losses as a result of the identity fraud. Given the financial implications of an identity fraud conviction, getting the advice of an Alpharetta identity theft lawyer before making any significant decisions about criminal charges may be beneficial.
Consult an Alpharetta Identity Theft Attorney for Advice
An Alpharetta identity theft lawyer could examine all aspects of the investigation that led to your criminal charges and weigh the evidence against you. Legal counsel may also be able to ensure that your rights are protected throughout your criminal case. Without legal advice, you may inadvertently incriminate yourself, make yourself susceptible to additional charges, and even end up with harsher penalties.
As a result, do not delay in contacting a strong legal advocate on your behalf. Without this much-needed advice, you could be doing yourself a disservice and weakening your opportunities to reach a more favorable outcome in your case.