Many believe that innocence is the ultimate defense, and in many cases, that’s true. False convictions can and do happen, however, and you’re right to worry if you’ve been falsely accused of a crime. Identity theft is a particularly worrisome accusation, since it combines elements of fraud and theft. Whether you’ve already been accused or are currently just a suspect, it’s important to protect yourself legally as soon as possible.
The Definition of Identity Theft in Washington D.C.
Several crimes fall into the category of identity theft in Washington D.C. A criminal defense attorney can determine what you’re being accused of and build your defense accordingly. In the district, identity theft includes:
- The use of personal information to fraudulently obtain property
- The possession of personal information with the intent to use that information fraudulently
- The use of personal information to identify as that person during an arrest, conceal the commission of a crime, or avoid prosecution for a crime
Legal Consequences of Identity Theft
Some wonder if it’s really worth it to hire a lawyer for a crime they haven’t committed. We would encourage you to consider the consequences if you decide to defend yourself and are found guilty. Regardless of whether you’ve actually committed identity theft, the penalties are severe.
Those convicted of identity theft in the first degree are fined $10,000, twice the amount of the financial injury, or twice the amount of the property obtained, whichever fine is highest. You may also be imprisoned for up to 10 years if the financial injury is $25,000 or more.
If you’re convicted of identity theft in the second degree, you may be forced to pay a fine as high as $1,000 and imprisoned for up to 180 days.
There is an enhanced penalty for those who commit an offense against a person over the age of 65. In these types of cases, the fine and imprisonment term is up to 1.5 times higher than the maximum for first or second-degree identity theft.
Protecting Your Rights When You’re Accused
An identify theft accusation can seriously impact your life, finances, and future prospects. A conviction can follow you the rest of your life and limit your career and licensing options. Before you say anything to the police regarding the accusations, contact a criminal defense attorney in Washington D.C. Whoever you hire can dig into the details of your case and gather evidence.
Remember, anything you say in a police interview can be used against you in a court of law. Lawyers are well versed in the rights of accused people, and can ensure that you don’t say anything that incriminates you. This is especially important if you’ve been accused of identity theft, since the accusation of a victim is considered strong evidence. You need extensive evidence and documentation to protect yourself from a false conviction.
Don’t Take on Identity Theft Charges Alone
When you’re falsely accused of identity theft, you need to act immediately to prevent a heavy fine, imprisonment, or possibly even both. Get help and defend your innocence by contacting The McDaniel Law Group, PLLC at (202) 875-8361.
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