Identity theft charges are becoming more common as the world we live in becomes increasingly driven by data and digital information. It may not seem like a big deal to use information like another person’s name or date of birth on the internet, but in fact, identity theft is a felony, the most serious type of crime a person can be accused of committing.
If you, your spouse, or your son or daughter was arrested for identity theft in Salt Lake City or other parts of Utah, do not delay seeking legal help from a knowledgeable criminal attorney who has experience handling financial crimes, also known as “white collar crimes.” With more than 16 years of experience working on thousands of criminal cases, Salt Lake defense lawyer Darwin Overson is eminently qualified to handle even highly challenging and complex felony cases. To set up a confidential and free legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law immediately at (801) 758-2287.
When Can You Be Charged with Identity Theft Under Utah Code 76-6-1102?
Though commonly called identity theft, this offense is actually described as “identity fraud” under Utah’s applicable criminal statute, which is Utah Code § 76-6-1102.
There are many reasons a person can be charged with identity fraud under this statute, but all involve the same general act: “knowingly or intentionally us[ing], or attempt[ing] to use, the personal identifying information of another person, whether that person is alive or deceased, with fraudulent intent, including [intent] to obtain, or attempt to obtain” any of the following:
- Medical information
- “Any other thing of value”
The term “personal identifying information” is very broad under the statute’s definition, and includes a range of physical objects as well as digital information and data. Under Utah Code § 76-6-1102(1), a person can be charged with identity theft for using, or attempting to use, any of the following sources of information about another person:
- Driver’s license information
- Electronic identification numbers
- Electronic signatures
- Employee identification number
- Mother’s maiden name
- Personal identification number (PIN)
- Phone number
- Photographs and other “realistic” representations of the person
- Place of employment
- Social Security Number (SSN)
Various legal strategies may be used to fight identity theft charges in Salt Lake City. However, the statute is very explicit in stating that, under Utah Code § 76-6-1102(2)(b), “It is not a defense… that the [defendant] did not know that the personal information belonged to another person.”
Utah Felony Penalties for ID Theft: Fines and Prison Sentencing
Every crime listed under Utah’s criminal code is identified, at the broadest level, as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies – a category which includes rape and murder – are much more serious than misdemeanors, and can therefore result in very severe penalties. Identity fraud is a felony.
Utah felonies fall into one of three categories: felonies of the first degree, felonies of the second degree, and felonies of the third degree. These distinctions are important, because each class of felony is subject to different penalties, which may include criminal fines and a prison sentence.
Under Utah Code § 76-6-1102(3)(a), identity fraud is a third degree felony when the monetary value of the stolen item, service, or other type of benefit was under $5,000.
If the value of the stolen material or service was $5,000 or more, identity fraud is a second degree felony in accordance with Utah Code § 76-6-1102(3)(b)(i). Identity theft is also a felony of the second degree when “the use… of personal identifying information results, directly or indirectly, in bodily injury to another person.” This is provided by Utah Code § 76-6-1102(3)(b)(ii).
In Utah, criminal penalties for a third degree felony can include a fine of up to $5,000, and a prison sentence of up to five years.
Penalties for a second degree felony can include a fine of up to $10,000, and a sentence ranging from one to 15 years.
Additionally, Utah Code § 76-6-1102(5) creates another financial penalty, stating, “When a defendant is convicted… the court shall order the defendant to make restitution to any victim of the offense,” unless the court “does not find ordering restitution to be appropriate.” Restitution, which is meant to repay the victim, can include compensation for actual costs (e.g. attorney fees, lost earnings) as well as “the value of the victim’s time,” meaning, for example, time the victim spent trying to clear his or her credit history.
Salt Lake City Defense Attorney Handling Identity Fraud Arrests
An identity fraud conviction can have devastating, long-lasting negative consequences for every aspect of your life. Not only can you be heavily fined and lose your freedom, but once you are released from prison, you may find it exceedingly difficult to find a job, which can create a vicious cycle of financial hardship. Many employers are hesitant to hire an applicant with a history of identity theft, particularly in industries that center heavily around the use of sensitive personal information. For example, if you work in the financial industry or the healthcare industry, a record of identity theft can be a serious blow to your career aspirations.
It is vital that you are represented by a tough and experienced Salt Lake identity fraud attorney if you are facing criminal charges under Utah Code § 76-6-1102. Having quality legal representation gives you a higher likelihood of being acquitted, having your case dismissed, or receiving a lighter sentence.
To talk with an experienced white collar crimes attorney in a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287. We handle criminal cases in Salt Lake County, Summit County, Wasatch County, Rich County, Davis County, Morgan County, and beyond.