California Identity Theft Law: Penalties and Defenses Available

California Identity Theft Law: What to Know When You Didn’t Do It

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 that you need to know, including the California identity theft law, penalties and possible defenses.

California Identity Theft Law

In our state, identity theft crime fallw 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 a pretty stiff punishment.

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 felony.

There is another consequence that can be just as damaging—a criminal record. An identify 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 believe, you are not automatically guilty. They will need to prove that you had an unlawful purpose for having someone’s personal identifying information.

While many forms of identity theft seem pretty 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 the Law Offices of Robert Ernenwein today at 310-375-5858. We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.