You undoubtedly never wanted to find yourself accused of a crime. Of course, like many others who never had such a desire, you have nonetheless found yourself in hot water with the authorities. Now, you must work to understand the allegations you face and your options for defending against them.

A serious crime that has become more prevalent across Louisiana and other parts of the United States is identity theft. You may have felt shocked when you had accusations of such a crime leveled against you, but still, you must take the necessary steps to see your criminal case through to the end.

What is identity theft?

As the name suggests, identity theft involves a person using someone else’s personal identifying information in a fraudulent manner, often for financial gain. Common information used in this type of crime includes the following:

  • Date of birth
  • A person’s name
  • Driver’s license number
  • Social Security number

One could obtain this information through a number of means, and because more people are putting personal information online, the risk of identity theft is higher.

What are the penalties for identity theft?

In Louisiana, the punishment for conviction of identity theft charges depends on the amount of financial loss the victim suffered, such as:

  • Imprisonment with the possibility of hard labor for up to six months and/or a fine of up to $500 for a loss of less than $300
  • Imprisonment with the possibility of hard labor for up to three years and/or a fine of up to $3,000 for a loss of $300 to $500
  • Imprisonment with the possibility of hard labor for up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for a loss ranging from $500 to $1,000
  • Imprisonment with the possibility of hard labor for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for a loss of $1,000 or more

If multiple convictions for the same crime have taken place, those convictions could also affect sentencing.

Can you defend yourself?

As with any criminal charge, you have the legal right to a fair trial and to defend against the allegations. You may feel overwhelmed and confused by the charges of identity theft brought against you, but fortunately, you can gain help to better understand your predicament. Speaking with an attorney may work in your best interests.