Allegations of identity theft are extremely sensitive, and those accused of this type of crime may feel as if they have already been judged very early on in the process. While victims of identity theft in North Dakota might understandably feel upset about their situations, defendants have the right to defend themselves to the fullest extent. Anyone who was arrested for this type or other types of white collar crimes needs to understand what these charges entail.
Simply using another person’s personal data might not be enough to warrant an identity theft charge. Instead, using that personal data for economic gain through deception or fraud usually constitutes identity theft. One example is using someone else’s identifying information — like his or her Social Security number or birth date — to open up a credit card or take out a loan. Although personal information is often obtained online through information leaks or security flaws, a prosecutor may accuse a defendant of going through an alleged victim’s trash to find discarded documents.
Congress made identity theft a federal offense back in 1998, and penalties for aggravated identity theft were increased in 2004. Most courts do not take accusations of identity theft lightly. If a person was charged with general aggravated identity theft, he or she could be looking at up to two years in prison.
Most people do not have two years or even longer to put their lives on hold. Working on a criminal defense plan as early on in the process as possible is important, because it gives a person more time to consider the charges, evidence and options for moving forward. Defendants do not have to take on this process by themselves, though. Speaking with an experienced attorney in North Dakota may be helpful for defendants who are fighting these and other types of white collar crimes.