Identity theft is a serious white collar crime in Virginia. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and is prosecuted aggressively in our state. If you face these charges, you should immediately retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and explain your rights to you.
What Is Identity Theft?
The crime of identity theft can be committed by obtaining identifying information about individuals online or using their physical identification, such as a credit card or driver’s license. Virginia Code §18.2-186.3 makes it a crime for a person to use someone’s identifying information without their permission with the intent to defraud, distribute, or sell the data. This offense occurs in four ways:
- Obtaining, recording, or accessing someone’s identifying information not available to the general public that could be used to access financial resources, obtain identifying documents, or obtain the individual’s benefits
- Obtaining money, credit, loans, goods, or services by using the identifying information of the victim
- Obtaining identifying documents in the person’s name
- Obtaining or accessing the identifying information of the victim while impersonating a law enforcement officer or government official
Identifying information is broadly defined under Virginia law and can include a victim’s name, social security number, date of birth, driver’s license number, bank account or credit card numbers, passwords, and more.
What Are the Penalties for Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a Class 1 misdemeanor if the financial loss is less than $1,000. If the financial loss is $1,000 or more, a person can be charged with a Class 6 felony.
This offense would be a Class 5 felony if it involved a distribution or sale of the identifying information of five or more victims. If the crime involved 50 or more victims, it would be considered a Class 4 felony.
If a person faces harsh penalties for an identity theft conviction. Their punishments could include:
- Class 1 misdemeanor. Jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500
- Class 6 felony. Prison sentence of up to five years
- Class 5 felony. One to 10 years in prison
- Class 6 felony. Two to 10 years in prison
In addition, the defendant could be ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
Have you been accused of committing an identity theft crime in Virginia? Our skilled criminal defense lawyers will mount an aggressive defense strategy for you that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less severe offense. To learn more about how we can help you, start a live chat, call our Manassas office at 888-DUI-LWYR, or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.