Identity Theft | California PC 530.5

There are certain crimes, such as burglary or assault, which have existed from the time when prisons first came into existence. Some crimes, however, have only recently evolved with the onset of advanced technology. Identity theft, for example, has become a huge problem in California due to the relative ease in which personal information can now be obtained. Unfortunately for those charged with the crime, the consequences are harsh, so it’s imperative to understand everything that they are facing.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft can involve various crimes and charges. Willfully obtaining another’s personal information to use in an unlawful manner without the individual’s consent, for instance, constitutes identity theft. This includes any type of fraud which an individual may commit. In fact, even providing or selling another person’s personal information with the intent to defraud can be charged as identity theft.

It’s important to note that an actual intent to defraud isn’t even necessary to constitute identity theft. Simply selling or transferring an individual’s personal information while knowing that it will be used in a fraudulent manner is considered a crime. Any of these actions will result in identity theft and possibly other charges, so the first step should be to get in touch with a reputable bail bondsman who can begin working for your release.

Bail for Identity Theft

Bail amounts for identity theft can vary widely between counties and even within a certain region. In San Diego County, for instance, the bail schedule sets a $50,000 bail for those charged with this crime. Additionally, an individual with a prior conviction will be given a $40,000 bail amount if they even have another person’s information and intend to use it fraudulently.

Several California county bail schedules don’t specifically refer to identity theft, but the underlying crimes will often decide what bail a person faces. In Los Angeles County, for instance, felonies related to credit cards have a preset bail of $20,000. Luckily, in California the law puts a maximum of 10 percent of the face amount for agencies posting security bonds for a person’s release.

Penalties for Identity Theft

The penalties related to identity theft are varying and serious. This crime is known as a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This choice is made by the prosecutor. A person convicted of a misdemeanor can face a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This punishment, however, is amongst the most lenient.

A person convicted of felony identity theft can face three years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Additionally, multiple charges of identity theft can be filed on an individual who used another’s personal information on numerous occasions. Even worse is the fact that several other crimes, such as credit card fraud and Internet fraud, can be charged as well if they were part of the identity theft.

Sadly, identity theft seems to be a problem that isn’t going away any time soon. For those accused of the crime, a long road of difficulty may lay ahead. There are several defenses to this allegation, and an individual with competent legal help may stand a good chance of being exonerated. The important thing is to quickly speak with an attorney and start building a defense to avoid the harsh repercussions related to a conviction.

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