Identity theft can be a
white collar crime and / or an
internet crime. It is both a violation of state law as well as a
federal offense, which means that if you are charged with identity theft, you can be tried
in state court and federal court. The penalties for federal charges can
be much more severe than typical state charges, which is why it is crucial
that you retain a qualified lawyer when accused of any type of identity
theft in Florida.
Tampa criminal defense attorneys at Thomas & Paulk are highly experienced at handling cases in federal
courts. Read the rest of the blog for more insight and
call our firm for counsel: (813) 321-7323.
What Does the Law Say About Identity Theft?
Under Florida statute, identity theft is also known as the criminal use
of personal identification information. Personal identification information
can be any of the following, or any combination of the following:
Identity theft may be committed in a number of different ways, such as
impersonating someone in order to gain access to secure identification
information, counterfeiting personal identification information, or using
another’s personal identification information for illegal purposes,
such as theft or harassment.
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Bank Account Number
- Credit Card Number
- Debit Card Number
- Pin Codes
- Passport Number
- Driver's License Number
- Medical Records
- Electronic IDs
Types of Identity Theft
Florida law classifies a number of different types of identity theft including:
Criminal Use / Possession of Personal Identification Information – Under § 817.568(2), an individual can be charged for fraudulently
using or possessing another’s personal identification information
without consent. This offense can be as serious as a first degree felony
depending on the number of victims and other circumstances.
Use / Possession of a Deceased Person's Information – Under § 817.568(8), you can be charged for using or possessing
the personal identification information of a deceased person through fraudulent means.
Obtaining Property by False Personation – If you falsely present yourself or impersonate another individual
to gain funds, property, etc., you can face a felony or misdemeanor charge
under § 817.02.
Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information to Harass – Identity theft can also be used to harass, not just steal money.
This offense, under § 817.568(4), is considered any use of another’s
personal identification information without consent in order to harass
that person (first degree misdemeanor).
Use of a Minor’s Personal Identification Information – Similar to other offenses, § 817.568(6) says that the fraudulent
use of a minor’s personal identification information is a second
Counterfeit / Fictitious Personal Identification Information – Possessing with the intent to use or using fictitious personal
identification information with the intention of commitment fraud is a
felony under § 817.568(9) in Florida.
What Are the Penalties for Identity Theft?
Under the law, identity theft alone is often considered just a first degree
misdemeanor; however, depending on the means used to obtain the information and actions
taken, you could also be facing a first degree
A first degree felony can result in 20 years to life in prison, up to $10,000
in fines, and other consequences. A second degree felony also carries
a heavy prison term of up to 15 years and a $10,000 fine. A lesser, third
degree felony can result in up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in
fines. If convicted of a first degree misdemeanor, you could have up to
one year behind bars and a $1,000—a second degree misdemeanor carries
an even light 60-day maximum in jail and $500 fine. In addition, you may
be held accountable for paying restitution to the victim when applicable.