Identity theft is an ever-growing threat that affects both individuals and businesses. Kentucky, like many other states, has stringent laws to combat this issue. As a defendant, understanding all aspects of this crime and the associated consequences is of critical importance. An experienced criminal defense attorney and strategic legal defense could mean the difference between keeping your freedom or facing costly fines or jail time.
Don’t leave your future to chance – work with an attorney who specializes in identity theft cases in Lexington, Kentucky, to protect your rights and safeguard your future. For help, contact our law firm Suhre & Associates, LLC, to schedule a free consultation with a Lexington identity theft lawyer at (859) 569-4014.
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How Suhre & Associates, LLC, Can Help if You’re Arrested for Identity Theft in Lexington
If you’ve been arrested for identity theft in Lexington, KY, one of the first things you should do is find an experienced identity theft attorney. Look no further than Suhre & Associates. Our Lexington criminal defense attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, and we have former police and prosecutors on our legal team. That gives us a clear advantage when defending our clients against the government.
Here’s how we will help if you work with us:
- The first thing we will do is speak with you about your case. We will conduct an in-depth interview about the circumstances, your alleged participation, any evidence presented against you, and other aspects of your case.
- Next, we will collect all necessary information related to your case, including police reports, video footage, or witness statements, if available.
- We will review other evidence from the prosecutor to look for inconsistencies or mistakes and constitutional violations that took place during the investigation or your arrest.
- If there are justifiable reasons, we’ll proceed with pre-trial motions, like a motion to suppress particular pieces of evidence.
- In some cases, a plea deal may be your best option. We will negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or lesser sentences.
- If it gets to trial, we will present arguments on your behalf and do everything possible to raise reasonable doubt in the case against you.
Being charged with identity theft in Lexington is a scary experience. Fortunately, you don’t have to face it alone. For help, contact Suhre & Associates, LLC, to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lexington identity theft attorney.
Overview of Identity Theft in Kentucky
According to Kentucky law, identity theft occurs when an individual knowingly possesses or uses another person’s current or former identifying information. This could involve obtaining, recording, or transferring personal data without the person’s consent and with the intent to misappropriate their identity for certain nefarious purposes.
Personal identifying information may include a victim’s:
- Telephone number
- E-mail address
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license number
- Birth date
- Personal identification number
- Any other identifiable information
The prosecution must establish that the defendant used or possessed the victim’s information to falsely assume their identity, with the intent to carry out specific illegal activities.
These illegal purposes could include:
- Depriving the victim of their property
- Obtaining benefits they are not entitled to
- Making financial or credit transactions using the victim’s identity
- Avoiding detection by law enforcement
- Obtaining a commercial or political benefit
Other circumstances could constitute an illegal purpose as well.
Trafficking Stolen Identities
One crucial aspect of Kentucky’s identity theft laws is the focus on trafficking in stolen identities. This means that the Commonwealth must prove the defendant intentionally manufactured, sold, transferred, or possessed another person’s identity. The purpose behind trafficking, according to Kentucky law, must be to:
- Deprive the other person of property;
- Obtain benefits or property to which the defendant wouldn’t be entitled;
- Make financial/credit transactions;
- Avoid detection; or
- Obtain commercial/political benefit.
Only when prosecutors meet these requirements will there be a viable case for identity theft.
Federal Identity Theft Laws
Despite the various state laws and regulations governing identity theft in Kentucky, it is important to be aware of federal laws that may also come into play. Under federal law, it is illegal to produce, transfer, or possess identification documents that are stolen, false, or otherwise not genuinely issued by the relevant authority.
This covers a wide range of activities, including the creation of counterfeit IDs, the unauthorized transfer of stolen identification documents, and the sale or possession of false identification materials.
What Are the Penalties for Identity Theft in Lexington, Kentucky?
In Kentucky, identity theft is a serious crime. If found guilty, you may face the following penalties:
Identity Theft: Class D Felony
In Kentucky, identity theft is a Class D felony. If convicted, a defendant can face anywhere from 1 to 5 years in jail. Additionally, monetary fines can be as high as $10,000.
Trafficking in Stolen Identities: Class C Felony
Kentucky law also has a separate classification for those caught trafficking in stolen identities. This offense is characterized as a Class C felony, punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.
Restitution & Financial Remedy
For both identity theft and trafficking in stolen identities, defendants who are found guilty are often required to pay restitution to their victims. Restitution is a monetary payment that covers any losses or damages the victim incurred, which may include:
- Reimbursement for money spent using the victim’s information;
- Costs related to correcting credit history;
- Attorney’s fees;
- Lost wages due to time spent addressing the identity theft;
- Other expenses associated with recovery from identity theft.
This financial burden can compound the penal consequences of a conviction, emphasizing the need for a competent legal defense to protect a defendant’s future.
Penalties for Federal Identity Theft
Being charged with a federal identity theft crime carries with it a variety of possible consequences. These can range from substantial financial penalties and asset forfeiture to lengthy prison terms, depending on the specifics of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
Up to 30 Years in Federal Prison
If convicted of a federal identity theft crime, a defendant may face up to 30 years in federal prison. This lengthy sentence is reflective of the serious nature of these offenses and is intended to deter others from engaging in similar crimes.
Financial Penalties and Asset Forfeiture
In addition to prison time, defendants may also be subject to significant financial penalties. These can include hefty fines, as well as court-ordered restitution payments to victims.
Additionally, federal courts may order the forfeiture of any property or assets that were obtained as a result of the identity theft scheme, including any funds that were acquired through fraudulent means.
What Defenses Can Be Raised If I’m Arrested for Identity Theft in Lexington?
If you’re arrested for identity theft, several potential legal defenses can be raised. Some of the most common include the following:
- Lack of Intent: Identity theft requires intent to commit the crime. If you accidentally obtained personal information without the knowledge or intention to use it for unlawful activities, this defense can apply.
- Consent: This is when you assert that the alleged victim gave permission for their information to be used in a certain way, and thus no fraudulent activity was committed against them.
- Mistaken Identity: This defense is used when you believe that someone else committed the crime and wrongfully implicated you. In such cases, providing an alibi or evidence showing that you didn’t perform the fraudulent behavior attributed to you can help clear your name.
- Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution has an obligation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are responsible for identity theft based on solid evidence such as documents and witness testimonies. Failure on their end to obtain substantial proof can lead to an acquittal.
Our Lexington identity theft lawyers will undertake a thorough evaluation of your case so that we can determine the defenses best suited for the circumstances. Learn more about your legal rights and options by contacting us for a free case review today.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our Lexington Identity Theft Lawyers
If you’re arrested for identity theft in Lexington, Kentucky, it’s important to stay calm. You can raise several defenses with the help of an experienced Lexington identity theft lawyer. To get started, contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today to schedule a free consultation.
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