Under Washington D.C. law, identify deception and theft carries a broad definition. It typically involves the intent to steal another person’s information or property. An individual can be charged with identify theft if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- The individual uses personal identifying information belonging to another person to obtain or attempt to obtain property fraudulently or without that person’s consent
- The individual obtains, creates, or possesses personal identifying information belonging to another individual with the intent to use the information to obtain or attempt to obtain property fraudulently or without the other person’s consent; or the individual intends to give or sell the information to a third person so the third person can obtain or attempt to obtain property fraudulently or without the victim’s consent
- The individual uses personal identifying information belonging to another person fraudulently or without that person’s consent in order to identify themselves at the time of arrest, to facilitate or conceal their commission of a crime, or to avoid detection, apprehension, or prosecution for a crime
What Penalties are Associated with Identity Deception in Washington, D.C.?
A variety of penalties may be incurred if an individual is charged with identity theft. An individual may be charged with identity theft in the second degree if the property obtained or attempted to be obtained has a value of less than $1,000. The penalties may entail either a fine of $1,000, imprisonment for no more than 180 days, or both.
If the property obtained or attempted to be obtained has a value of more than $1,000, an individual can be charged with identity theft in the first degree. Potential penalties of identity theft in the first degree include a fine of twice the value of the property obtained, twice the amount of the financial injury, or $25,000. The fine is dependent on whichever option has the greatest penalty. The individual may also be imprisoned for no more than 10 years.
What Are Aggravating Factors of Identity Deception?
The penalties associated with identity theft of the first and second degree vary greatly, depending on the severity of the identity deception or theft.
Some aggravating factors to increase penalties include the value of the property stolen, the defendant’s criminal history, and whether the defendant is a minor. Additionally, if the crime was committed over the internet, federal authorities may become involved. If this happens, the alleged offender individual may receive penalties from both their state and federal government.
What Are Defenses Against Identity Theft?
If you are accused of identity theft, you and your lawyer can raise several defenses. First, you can argue that you did not intend to deceive your victim. If you are able to prove that there was no intent to deceive, this could lead to the case being dismissed or you being found not guilty if the case goes to trial.
Another defense you can raise includes alleging that the “victim” was a willing participant of the crime. If you and your lawyer can prove that the alleged victim willingly gave you their property, the case may be dismissed or you could be found not guilty.
Consequences of identity theft can be life-altering to an individual. If you have been arrested or are under investigation of this crime, contact an experienced attorney right away for assistance.