Maryland Identity Theft Lawyer

An accusation that you committed identity theft can turn your life upside down. The possibility of paying steep fines and facing a jail sentence if the accusation becomes a conviction can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Proving that you are innocent of the criminal charges against you may be challenging.

A Maryland identity theft lawyer could help. With the legal representation of a skilled criminal attorney, you may be able to fight the allegations to show that you did nothing wrong.

Penalties for an Identity Theft Conviction

While the penalties of a conviction for identity theft show how serious the offense can be, they depend on the amount of money that was allegedly taken. Convictions for amounts of less than $1,500 are misdemeanor offenses and carry jail terms of up to a year, a potential of up to $500 in fines, and payments of restitution. Convictions on identity fraud allegations that deal with more than $1,500, on the other hand, are felony level offenses that carry jail terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $25,000 if the amount at issue was $100,000 or more.

Convictions also have collateral consequences. People who have a prior offense of identity theft might find it more difficult to do some of the most important things in their life, even after years have passed since the conviction. For example, obtaining a car loan or mortgage with a prior record of identity theft may be a struggle as banks and financial institutions look on application documents with skepticism. Given the serious and potentially life-long consequences of an identity theft conviction, defendants may benefit from contacting a Maryland attorney immediately.

Identity Theft Charges and Personal Identifying Information

In Maryland, identity theft charges come from alleged violations of Maryland Criminal Code § 8-301. This statute prohibits anyone from obtaining someone else’s “personal identifying information,” without their consent, for their own personal gain. This includes creating personal identifying information of a fictional person.

What constitutes “personal identifying information,” is shockingly broad. It includes information critical to someone’s financial records, which may entail a social security number or bank account number; and seemingly innocuous kinds of information regarding another person. Innocuous information may include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Date of birth
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Place of employment

When any of these pieces of information are obtained or possessed for the purpose of personal gain, a surprising accusation of identity theft can follow. Calling a Maryland attorney at this juncture might be the most important thing a suspect or defendant of identity theft could do. A knowledgeable attorney could review the facts of a person’s case and advise them on which steps to take.

The Issue of Consent

One of the most important pieces of the identity theft puzzle in Maryland is the issue of consent. Convictions for identity theft might only follow if the prosecutor proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a defendant did not have the consent of the accuser to use their personal information.

This is where many allegations of identity theft fail, as they are simply the result of a miscommunication between the rightful owner of the information and the person allegedly using it. Authorized use of personal information, no matter how sensitive, does not constitute identity theft in Maryland.

Call a Maryland Identity Theft Attorney

If you have been accused of committing identity theft in Maryland, hiring an attorney to raise your rights and prove your innocence is often the best way to prevent the accusation from becoming a conviction. By gathering evidence that you did not commit the crime you have been charged with, you can show a jury that you deserve to be acquitted and may even persuade law enforcement to drop the charges.

Call a Maryland identity theft lawyer today to get started on your defense. Taking your rights seriously has never been more important than at a time like this.