Last Updated: January 19th, 2022 at 4:04 am
Read Time: 6 Minutes
The penalty for identity theft in Florida can be quite severe, leading to the loss of freedoms and rights upon conviction. Consequences can include lengthy sentences for incarceration, hefty fines, a permanent blemish on your criminal record, and so much more. When individuals find out they are facing charges for the criminal offense, one of the first questions they commonly ask is “what is the penalty for identity theft in Florida?” The reality is that sentencing can vary significantly based on the unique factors of your case. However, it is essential to know that there is legal help available and time in prison is not unavoidable.
If you are facing criminal charges for identity theft in Florida, contact the team at Weinstein Legal and ask to speak with identity theft attorney Matt Shafran. Mr. Shafran is a partner at the law firm and serves as head of the criminal defense division. He has years of experience acting as a criminal defense lawyer and formerly held the position of prosecutor. This means that Mr. Shafran is well familiar with the tactics the opposing side will employ in an attempt to gain a conviction. Do not face the courts alone, as the penalty for identity theft in Florida can be quite serious.
Mr. Shafran is ready and willing to fight your case. He will begin working tirelessly to prove your innocence from the very first day you contact our law firm, utilizing many different methods such as private investigators, character witnesses, and more. Every day that passes is another day that the prosecutor’s office is working to prove your guilt. You deserve the same diligent legal representation. Weinstein Legal will provide you with an entirely free case evaluation to review the facts and circumstances surrounding your charges, with absolutely no obligation. Our phones are available 24-hours a day, 365-days a year, so there will never be a time when your call for help goes unanswered. Call 954-845-0505 and ask to speak with defense attorney Matt Shafran today.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when an individual uses another person’s information to pose as that person, whether in person or electronically. This may include actions such as using another person’s driver’s license in an attempt to buy alcohol or using their identifying information to open a line of credit.
Personal information may include the following items:
- Social Security Number
- Phone Number
- Employment Information
- Driver’s License Number
- And more
A person may obtain another individual’s information in a variety of ways, however, no matter which method they use, it is always illegal to assume another’s identity. A person may physically take information from another person, such as by removing their driver’s license from their purse or wallet, or they may obtain the information by way of public record, eavesdropping, cyber hacking, and more. Should an individual obtain information using public records in the state of Florida, the crime will be reclassified to the next highest degree.
Common Examples of Identity Theft
Identity theft can take many forms and individuals from all walks of life may find themselves facing charges.
Examples of identity theft include:
- Stealing and using or attempting to use checks
- Stealing and using or attempting to use ATM/debit or credit cards
- Using another person’s driver’s license during an encounter with police or to mislead another person as to your identity/age/address
- Hacking another person’s web accounts for financial gain or to pose as that individual
- Senior citizen identity theft or child identity theft, often to gain access to government and financial benefits
- Tax fraud
- Synthetic identity theft, which occurs when a person blends together many different pieces of information to create a new identity
- Medical and health insurance identity theft for the purpose of gaining coverage, avoiding medical bills, and more
- Mortgage and home title fraud
- Internet of Things (IoT) identity fraud, or gaining access to another person’s personal data by way of hacking a secure digital device
- And more
It is important to note that you can still receive charges for identity theft or fraud even if the other person is aware of your actions. For example, should an older sibling let a younger sibling borrow a driver’s license, which is then used during a police stop. Or, should a friend or relative provide an individual with their medical or insurance information to use for billing and coverage purposes. The state may still prosecute you for identity theft in these instances, as well as additional charges relating to conspiracy, which will be an elevated charge of a higher degree.
What Is the Penalty for Identity Theft Crime in Florida?
In the state of Florida, identity theft is frequently a felony charge. It is important to note that additional charges may accompany a charge for identity theft, which may augment a sentence making it more severe. For example, you may receive additional theft charges should you use another person’s identity to make unauthorized purchases. Or, should an individual use another person’s identifying information to create false documents, they may face additional criminal charges for forgery. The penalty for identity theft below does not include the possibility for such additional charges.
What is the penalty for identity theft in Florida?
- Restitution for the full amount of financial damages as well as court or lawyer fees for the opposing party
- Up to five years in prison and five years probation along with an additional $5,000 in fines for a third-degree felony charge
- Up to fifteen years in prison and fifteen years probation along with an additional $10,000 in fines for a second-degree felony charge
- Up to thirty years in prison and an additional $10,000 in fines for a first-degree felony charge
Additionally, living life as a convicted felon can present many more challenges. You may face trouble finding employment or housing in the future, as prospective employers and landlords as well as HOAs will see your criminal charges on a background check. As a felon, you may lose your right to vote for a period of time and have to forfeit your weapons or legally owned firearms. A defense attorney such as Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal can help.
Can Identity Theft Charges Be Dropped?
When asking what is the penalty for identity theft in Florida, many individuals also wish to know whether these charges can be dropped. The good news is that, yes, it is possible for the prosecutor’s office to drop identity theft charges even before your first court appearance. However, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to negotiate on your behalf and present evidence that may exonerate you.
It is a common misconception that if the alleged victim either does not wish to press charges or decides to drop their charges after filing a complaint, that the state must also drop the case. Unfortunately, this is not true. Identity theft is a criminal matter, and a prosecutor’s office may still move forward even without the cooperation or involvement of the alleged victim. Only the prosecutor can decide to drop these charges, often after intense negotiation and discussion with your defense attorney.
What Is the Best Way to Defend against Identity Theft Charges?
The most important thing to remember when examining the penalty for identity theft and the possible ramifications to your life is that there is hope to have the charges either dropped or significantly reduced with the right legal help.
Possible defenses against identity theft include:
- The ability to prove you did not have the intent to obtain another person’s information
- You are not the person responsible for the transactions or information
- The ability to prove you did not have the intent to use another person’s information for any gain
Contact Weinstein Legal Today
If you are facing charges and want to know the possible penalty for identity theft, contact the team at Weinstein Legal today for a free case evaluation. Ask for experienced criminal defense attorney, attorney Matt Shafran, who will review the facts of your case and begin working diligently to prove your innocence and win a positive outcome for you in a court of law.
Call 954-945-0505 today to speak with our team.