Criminal Deception / Identity Theft

Indianapolis Attorney Helping Defendants Under Prosecution Facing criminal charges can be a daunting and stressful experience, no matter how serious the offense alleged. Our attorneys have represented individuals accused of breaking the law for more than 25 years. She has represented Indianapolis clients in hundreds of cases against nearly every type of criminal prosecution, including identity theft. Our dedicated criminal defense lawyers understand the serious ramifications that a conviction can have and works hard to protect your legal rights.

Identity Theft Laws in Indiana

Like many states throughout the nation, Indiana has begun to seriously investigate and punish incidents of identity theft. In fact, the state Attorney General has concluded that this offense is a sufficiently serious problem to justify the formation of an Identity Theft Unit.

The laws of Indiana make it a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess or use identifying information belonging to another person. The term “identifying information” has been defined to include a broad range of information, including a name, address, birth date, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, employer ID number, or any other identification number assigned by a governmental body. Identifying information can also include biometric data such as fingerprints, a voiceprint, or a retina image. Routing codes and telecommunication information are also considered identifying information. Identity theft can also occur when using the identifying information of a deceased person. Clearly, this term covers a wide variety of information.

In an identity theft case, the prosecution must prove several factors beyond a reasonable doubt. The first factor is that identifying information was used without the alleged victim’s consent or permission. Secondly, the prosecution must show that the person using the information had the intent to harm or defraud another person, assume the other person’s identity, or allege to be another person.

Federal laws also make it a crime to knowingly transfer or use another person’s identifying instrument with the intent to commit or aid unlawful activity, without the legal authority to do so. Much like Indiana’s state law on identity theft, the key to the prosecution’s case is intent. In other words, the prosecutor must prove that a person’s purpose was to use identifying information in a dishonest manner. A defense attorney will take the time to analyze the unique circumstances of your case to see if there are any weaknesses in the prosecution’s allegations, and use those weaknesses to seek a more favorable outcome.

A conviction of identity theft is usually punishable by a sentence of between six months and two and a half years, as well as a potential fine of up to $10,000. However, there are cases where the penalties are enhanced due to the financial implications involved and the amount of identifying information that is possessed. For example, if an individual has or uses the information of more than 100 people, the potential sentence is increased to one to six years, with a potential fine of up to $10,000. If the amount of the harm caused by the criminal enterprise is $50,000 or more, the punishment similarly increases. The same holds true if the identifying information belongs to a minor and certain circumstances are found to apply.

The long-lasting consequences of a conviction for this crime can affect your personal and professional life. Apart from the legal ramifications, it can be humiliating to go through an investigation into the personal details of your life. An experienced attorney knows the steps to deal with a charge of identity theft promptly, with the least possible disruption to you.