Under Pennsylvania law, identity theft is a crime where the perpetrator uses another person’s identity (for example, the victim’s Social Security number or date of birth) to open fraudulent accounts in that person’s name. Since virtually everyone uses email and social media today, identity theft is a serious problem, and it is heavily prosecuted under both federal and state laws. Moreover, the potential penalties upon conviction are severe and may include hefty fines and long periods of incarceration.
If you have been charged with identity theft in Pennsylvania, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side safeguarding all of your legal and constitutional rights throughout your case.
Attorney Brian J. Zeiger can offer you skilled, result-oriented legal representation and may be able to help obtain a dismissal of your criminal charge, a favorable plea deal with the prosecution, or a reduced penalty upon conviction.
Prosecuting Identity Theft in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania state law, a person commits identity theft when possessing or using—through any means—identifying information of another person (such as a birthdate or Social Security number) without that other person’s consent, and to further an unlawful purpose.
The Attorney General has the authority to investigate and prosecute the defendant if identity theft occurs in more than one county or in another state.
Possible Penalties Upon Conviction
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, identity theft is a first-degree misdemeanor—assuming that the charge is a first offense and that the total value involved is less than $2,000. In that case, an identity theft conviction is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Identity theft offenses involving more than $2,000—or which are related to a common scheme or criminal conspiracy—are charged as third-degree felonies in Pennsylvania. A conviction could result in as many as seven years in prison.
Other potential penalties upon conviction may include:
- Restitution to the alleged victim
- Community service
- Payment of court costs and filing fees incurred to investigate the theft, or monetary costs associated with filing a lawsuit related to the theft
Contact a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Criminal Defense Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
If you have been charged with a crime of identity theft in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer on your side throughout your case. Attorney Brian J. Zeiger can discuss the facts of your case with you, help formulate good legal defenses to your charge and, if necessary, represent you in court. He may help you obtain a dismissal of your identity theft charge, a favorable plea deal with the prosecuting attorney, or a reduced criminal sentence upon conviction.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, please call us at (215) 546-0340 or .