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Identity Theft Lawyer in Phoenix
Identity theft charges are becoming more and more common with the increasing use of the internet and social media. Unfortunately, what may look like a minor matter or even a prank, can lead to charges carrying heavy penalties in Arizona. If you are facing an identity theft charge, speak to an attorney with experience defending against these types of charges. Call us for a free consultation.
What is “Personal Identifying Information”?
Identity theft is covered under several Arizona criminal statutes. Before getting to the specifics of the offense, it is important to understand a term that appears throughout the identity theft laws. That term is “personal identifying information.” It is defined very broadly, and includes any written document or any electronic data that provides (or purports to provide) a wide range of information, including, among others, a person’s:
- Name or signature.
- License number (driver’s license or professional license).
- Address or telephone number.
- Social security number or tax identification number.
- Employment information.
- Birth date.
- Financial account (checking, savings, etc.) number.
- Credit card number.
- Mother’s maiden name.
As you can see, the scope of “personal identifying information” goes well beyond what you might expect. The importance of the definition becomes apparent when you look at the various forms of identity theft under the Arizona statutes. Note, however, that the law does not apply to minors (under the age of 21) using false i.d.’s to attempt to obtain alcoholic beverages.
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What is Identity Theft?
There are several categories of identity theft in Arizona. The basic charge, referred to in the statute as taking the identity of another person, appears in A.R.S. 13-2008. The law makes it an offense to knowingly take or possess the personal identifying information of another person or entity, without consent, with intent
- to use the identity for an unlawful purpose,
- to cause the person or entity to sustain a loss (whether or not a loss is actually sustained), or
- to obtain or to continue employment.
Identity theft is a class 4 felony.
Aggravated Identity Theft
You commit aggravated identity theft when you knowingly possess, take or use the personal identifying information of
- three or more persons or entities, without consent, with intent to use the information unlawfully or with intent to cause the person or entity any loss, whether or not a loss was actually suffered,
- any other person or entity, without consent, with intent to obtain or use that identity unlawfully, resulting in an economic loss to the person or entity of $1,000 or more, or
- any other person or entity, with the intent to obtain employment.
The law also prohibits a person who is hiring another from knowingly “accepting” the identity of another person knowing that the person presenting the identity is not the person identified by the information supplied, and using that information to determining whether the person presenting it has the right to work in the United States.
Aggravated identity theft and knowingly accepting the identity of another person in the circumstances described above are class 3 felonies.
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Trafficking in Identity Theft
If you sell, transfer or transmit personal identifying information of another person without consent for an unlawful purpose or to cause or attempt to cause that other person a loss, you commit trafficking in the identity of another person. This is a class 2 felony.
Phoenix Identity Theft Lawyer
The law is clear that there are a host of situations that could be charged as identity theft. While most cases you hear about involve stolen or forged credit cards, the law goes far beyond that example, and reaches just about every possible financial situation. In addition, the law in Arizona covers not only identity theft used for financial gain, it also covers both attempting to be hired – and attempting to hire – another person using false identification.
If you have been charged with identity theft, aggravated identity theft, or trafficking in identity theft, you are facing a serious charge with serious consequences. At The Feldman Law Firm, we understand these cases, and how best to establish the best possible defense. For answers to your questions, contact us for a free consultation.