Aggravated Taking the Identity of Another
Identity theft is an increasingly common crime in Arizona and throughout the country. Often, the victims are students and seniors. It includes creating counterfeit credit cards, obtaining someone else's credit card information, intentionally charging more than you can afford with no intention of paying, creating an organized scheme to defraud merchants, engaging in check fraud, and hacking into merchant or bank computer systems. There are three types of identity theft that may be charged in Arizona, including identity theft, aggravated identity theft, and identity trafficking. If you are charged with aggravated identity theft, you should be aware of how serious these charges are. You can retain Phoenix white collar crime lawyer James Novak to represent you.Aggravated Taking the Identity of Another
Aggravated identity theft under Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-2009 occurs when someone knowingly gets the personal identifying information of three or more people or entities, whether real or fictitious, without their permission, with the intent of obtaining or using their identities for an unlawful purpose or causing them loss.
Under A.R.S. § 13-2001(10), personal identifying information is any written or electronic data that claims to give information about someone's name, birthday, or Social Security number.
Aggravated identity theft may also be charged when there is an intent to obtain or use someone else's identity for an unlawful purpose that causes the person or entity to experience $1,000 or more in economic loss. Finally, it may also be charged when someone knowingly accepts another person's identity if the defendant knowingly accepted the personal identifying information of that person from an individual, knowing that the individual is not the actual person identified by the information, and also uses the information in order to determine whether the individual who presented the identity information possesses the authorization to work in the U.S. under federal law.
Aggravated identity theft is a class 3 felony and generally carries a more severe sentence than ordinary identity theft. Penalties imposed for class 3 felonies vary depending on whether there are mitigating or aggravating factors, as well as whether there are any priors on the defendant's criminal record. If there are no prior offenses, there is a potential sentence of 3.5 years.
However, a prosecutor has the burden of proof to establish all of the elements of a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. This means, for example, that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you got the personal identifying information of at least three people, that it is beyond a reasonable doubt that you did this knowingly, that it is beyond a reasonable doubt that none of them gave you permission, and that it is beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to use their identities for an unlawful purpose or to trigger a loss.
It may be possible to raise doubt as to any of these elements, perhaps especially the fourth element of intent. While intent may be proved through direct or circumstantial evidence, your attorney may try to find ways to attack this evidence. In some cases, it is possible to suppress crucial evidence that the prosecution needs to build their case by questioning whether there was probable cause to conduct the search that led to the evidence. In other cases, it may be possible to attack the credibility of a witness. Sometimes it is possible to persuade the prosecution that they do not have a strong case of aggravated identity theft, so they should provide a plea deal in exchange for pleading no contest to identity theft.Discuss Your Situation with an Identity Theft Attorney in Phoenix
Aggravated taking the identity of another is a serious offense in Arizona. When arrests are made improperly, Miranda warnings are not provided, or other mistakes are made in the investigation or handling of the charges, however, you may be able to turn those procedural errors to your advantage. Our principal is a former prosecutor who can provide aggressive, knowledgeable representation in the area of white collar crime. Contact Phoenix lawyer James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form to set up a free appointment. He also can assist defendants who need a forgery lawyer in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and other areas of Maricopa County.