Have you been arrested for identity theft in Dayton, OH? Prosecutors take identity theft charges extremely seriously in Ohio–and you could be facing harsh penalties. A Dayton identity theft lawyer at Suhre & Associates, LLC can provide the aggressive defense you need.
Our lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience representing clients facing a wide range of white collar criminal charges.
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How Can Suhre & Associates, LLC Help if You’re Facing Identity Theft Charges in Dayton?
Both federal and state prosecutors take identity theft very seriously. If you are convicted in Dayton, you could be sentenced to prison, required to repay any profits you made, and pay additional financial fines. Hiring an experienced Dayton criminal defense lawyer is the best thing you can do to protect your future.
Law enforcement and prosecutors will have spent significant time gathering evidence to build their case by the time they charge you. To avoid conviction, you’ll need to fight back.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we’ve been advocating for clients’ rights for nearly two decades. We know the legal system here in Ohio inside and out.
When you hire our legal team, our lawyers will:
- Offer our expert advice throughout the criminal justice process
- Conduct our own full-scale investigation into the allegations
- Locate any exculpatory evidence that can be used to establish your innocence
- Carefully review your case to identity constitutional violations
- Identify all weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
- Negotiate to get your charges downgraded or dismissed if possible
Our skilled Dayton criminal defense attorneys can also negotiate to secure the most favorable plea bargain possible–if accepting a plea is advisable in your case.
Our attorneys in Dayton know how to develop arguments that win over judges and juries. If you’re interested in securing the strongest possible criminal defense, call our law firm today to learn more.
Overview of Identity Theft Laws in Ohio
Identity theft is a type of white collar crime. It often involves using someone else’s personal information to obtain something of value, open a credit card, or commit some other fraudulent act.
Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2319.49, identity theft is called identity fraud.
Identity fraud is defined as obtaining, using, or possessing the personal identifying information of another person to:
- Pretend to be that other person, or
- Represent the other person’s personal identifying information as your own personal identifying information
Prosecutors can charge you with identity theft if you allow someone else to use your own personal information with the intent to commit fraud. It’s also a crime to use the personal identifying information of any person to aid another person in committing identity fraud.
What is Personal Identifying Information?
Personal identifying information includes any information that can be used to identify another person, whether living or dead.
That includes the person’s:
- Address or telephone number
- Driver’s license or driver’s license number
- Commercial driver’s license or commercial driver’s license number
- State identification card or state identification card number
- Social Security card or Social Security number
- Birth certificate
- Place of employment
- Employee identification number
- Mother’s maiden name
- Bank deposit numbers
- Investment account numbers
- Credit card numbers
- PIN numbers
Identity theft can take on many forms. It can involve using someone else’s Social Security number and personal information to obtain a credit card. It can also include using someone else’s personal information to secure health insurance or obtain a driver’s license or passport.
How Serious Are Identity Theft Charges in Ohio?
In most cases, identity fraud is a fifth-degree Felony in Ohio.
However, the charges can be more serious in cases involving higher dollar values:
- If the value of the property, services, or debt involved in the crime is more than $1,000, but less than $7,500, identity theft is a fourth-degree felony.
- If the value involved is at least $7,500, but less than $150,000, identity theft is a third-degree felony
- If the value of the property involved is $150,000 or more, identity theft is a second-degree felony
Identity fraud charges can also be elevated if the victim is a member of a protected class.
Protected class is defined to include:
- Elderly persons
- Disabled adults
- Active duty service members
- Spouses of active duty service members
If the victim is a member of a protected class, identity theft is a fourth-degree felony, even in cases involving relatively low dollar amounts. And first-degree felony charges will apply in cases involving more than $150,000 in fraudulently obtained goods, services, debt, or property.
Identity Theft and Forgery
Prosecutors often charge defendants in identity theft cases with additional offenses. Forgery is one of the most common charges that accompany identity theft charges.
Forgery is defined under Ohio Revised Code Section 2913.31 as:
- Forging the writing of someone else with an intent to defraud another person
- Forging an identification card
- Selling or distributing an identification card that the defendant knows is a forgery
Forgery is usually a fifth-degree felony. Like identity fraud charges, aggravated charges apply in cases involving high dollar values and protected classes.
Identity Theft is a Federal Crime
Knowingly transferring or using someone else’s identifying information with the intent to defraud is a crime under federal law. If convicted, you could face between five and 30 years in federal prison.
Federal charges usually apply in cases where the crime involves crossing state lines, such as using the federal postal service or the internet to commit the crime. The FBI, Federal Trade Commission, or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service could become involved in your case.
If you’re facing federal charges, don’t leave your defense to chance. At Suhre & Associates, LLC, our lawyers are experienced in handling criminal cases in federal court. We’ve been helping clients fight complex legal charges for over 15 years–and we have more than 100 years of combined experience in state and federal court.
What are the Penalties for Identity Theft in Dayton, Ohio?
Regardless of the circumstances, identity theft is always a felony under Ohio state laws. If convicted, you’ll be sentenced to jail and likely have to pay a fine. You could also face five years of probation once you’re released from jail.
Ohio felony sentencing guidelines vary depending upon the exact charges you’re facing.
Identity theft can be punished as a:
- Fifth-degree felony, punishable by six months to one year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500
- Fourth-degree felony, punishable by six to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of $5,000
- Third-degree felony, punishable by nine months to three years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine
- Second-degree felony, punishable by two to 12 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines
Additionally, if the victim is an elderly person, the defendant will be ordered to pay full restitution to the victim and a fine of up to $50,000. Victims of identity theft crimes also have the right to sue for damages in civil court. Civil damages can include amounts required to clear the victim’s name with credit reporting agencies.
Your criminal history can also impact your current case. If you’re charged with identity theft, don’t waste any time–call our experienced attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC to start building your defense today.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Identity Theft?
There are a number of defenses that can be raised if you’re accused of identity theft and forgery. However, those strategies will be much different than an assault or DUI defense. It can be possible to get the charges downgraded or thrown out with an effective defense.
Some of the most common defense strategies used in Ohio identity theft cases include:
- Lack of intent to defraud
- Consent to use the other person’s identifying information
- Insufficient evidence
- Mistaken identity or false allegations
- Constitutional violations, such as a lack of probable cause to search your property
Many identity theft cases are built on circumstantial evidence or unreliable facts. Other cases are based on a simple misunderstanding. If the prosecution’s case has any weaknesses at all, our attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC will find them.
For more information on the best defense options in your case, call our lawyers in Dayton today. We offer a free consultation so you’ll have access to the quality legal advice you need and deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Dayton Identity Theft Lawyer
Identity theft crimes carry harsh penalties in Montgomery County and across Ohio. It’s a mistake to take these charges lightly. If you’re under investigation or have been arrested, contact our experienced Dayton identity theft lawyers today. We’ll start building your defense immediately to give you the strongest odds of beating the charges.