Defending Against Federal Identity Theft Accusations

 Posted on June 13, 2024 in Identity Theft

Chicago criminal defense lawyerIf you face federal charges related to identity theft, the road ahead may seem like it is too much to bear. Identity theft is a serious crime that can carry potentially severe penalties under federal law. However, you do not have to face this difficult situation alone. An Illinois lawyer can provide the strong, strategic defense you need and protect your rights every step of the way.

What You Should First Know About Federal Identity Theft Charges

Identity theft happens when an individual uses someone else's personal information, like personal Security number or credit card details, without consent to engage in fraudulent activities or other criminal acts. While many identity theft cases are prosecuted at the state level, identity theft becomes a federal offense when it involves certain aggravating factors, such as:

  • Stealing the identity of a deceased person
  • Identity theft related to terrorism or immigration violations
  • Theft affecting interstate or foreign commerce
  • Theft of public money or property
  • Theft in connection with a federally-funded program
  • Repeat offenses or large numbers of victims

If any of these factors are involved, you could be facing federal felony charges that typically carry up to 30 years in prison, depending on the specifics of the case. Federal prosecutors have vast resources and will aggressively pursue a conviction, so having a lawyer in your corner is beneficial.

Potential Defenses Against Federal Identity Theft

Fortunately, there are several potential defenses that can be raised in federal identity theft cases. Your lawyer will carefully examine the facts and evidence to determine the best approach. Some common defense strategies include:

  • Lack of Intent: Identity theft charges require proving that you intentionally and knowingly committed the theft. If you had permission to use the information or lacked intent to deceive or defraud, that could negate an essential element of the crime.
  • Mistaken Identity: In some cases, identity theft occurs without the knowledge of the person whose information was stolen. If you can show you were an unwitting participant and did not know the information was obtained illegally, that may provide a defense.
  • Insufficient Evidence: As in all criminal cases, federal prosecutors have the burden to prove identity theft beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is weak, circumstantial, or fails to tie you to the crime, highlighting those shortcomings definitively can cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

Contact a Chicago, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

Federal criminal cases proceed much differently than state cases. There are different procedural rules, evidentiary standards, and sentencing guidelines. The terminology, court culture, and pace of litigation are also distinct from state courts. Having a Chicago, IL criminal defense attorney who is deeply familiar with the federal system is invaluable. Call Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney at 312-629-0669 to schedule a free consultation and to see how and if we can help you with your situation.

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