Home \ Identity Theft and Forgery
Have you been arrested for identity theft in Phoenix, AZ? Identity theft and related offenses like forgery are taken very seriously in Arizona, with harsh penalties if convicted. When you are facing a felony identity theft offense, you deserve a strong legal defense.
With over 33 years of experience, Craig Orent of Orent Law Offices represents clients facing all types of white collar offenses. Call our law office today for a free consultation with a Phoenix identity theft and forgery lawyer who will fight for you.
Identity theft is taken very seriously, both under federal and state law. If you have been charged with identity theft, forgery, or related offenses in Phoenix, Arizona, time is of the essence to begin building a solid defense.
Craig Orent of Orent Law Offices has spent 33 years defending clients against all types of offenses, including felonies and federal charges. He is a Top 100 Lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, a prestigious designation claimed by just 3% of Arizona criminal defense attorneys. He will put his decades of experience and reputation to work on your behalf.
Choose Orent Law Offices to represent you in your identity theft case, and our Phoenix criminal lawyer will:
Contact our law office today to get started with your free case review with a Phoenix identity theft lawyer prepared to fight for you.
Under Arizona Revised Statutes §13-2008, identity theft is considered “taking the identity of another person or entity.” This is a Class 4 felony.
Identity theft is a common white collar crime that involves stealing, possessing, buying, recording, or using someone else’s personally identifiable information to open credit or commit another nefarious act.
You may be charged with identity theft if you commit any of these offenses using the personal information of a real or fictitious person or entity:
Identity theft is a very broad charge that can be applied to many types of offenses. Identity theft is usually used to steal money or merchandise. For example, it may involve fraudulently opening a credit account or stealing credit card information.
However, identity theft can take other forms. It may involve stealing academic or job credentials. It can be used to fraudulently obtain a driver’s license or passport. It can even be used to steal healthcare benefits, secure housing, or avoid arrest.
Arizona has three separate identity theft charges:
You may also face related identity theft charges like forgery.
You may face an aggravated identity theft charge under Arizona Revised Statutes §13-2009.
This offense occurs if you:
In Arizona, aggravated identity theft is a Class 3 felony.
The most serious identity theft charge in Arizona is a trafficking charge under Arizona Revised Statutes §13-2010. You may be charged with this offense for knowingly selling, transferring, or transmitting the personal identifying information of another person or entity without consent.
Trafficking in the identity of another person or entity is a Class 2 felony in Arizona.
When you are charged with identity theft, you may be charged with a separate and related offense. Forgery is one of the most common offenses charged with identity theft. In Arizona, you can face separate charges for forgery and identity theft.
Forgery is defined under ARS §13-2002 as completing, creating, possessing, offering, or presenting information that has false information, documents, or instruments with an intent to defraud.
The greater the number of forged documents found in your possession, the easier it becomes for the state to prove intent to defraud. Someone found with five forged documents meets the statutory number to infer intent to defraud.
Forgery is a Class 4 felony in Arizona. However, if forged documents are used in an attempt to buy, rent, or lease property used as a drop house to facilitate smuggling, it becomes a Class 3 felony.
There are many other offenses under Arizona Revised Statutes that may be considered identity theft.
You may face an identity theft charge along with the following:
These are only some of the charges that may accompany identity theft in Arizona. Depending on the alleged offenses and how you are alleged to have used the stolen identity, you may face additional charges related to fraud, such as welfare fraud under (ARS §46-215).
Identity theft is also a crime under the federal Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. This law prohibits knowingly transferring or using someone else’s means of identification without authority and with the intent to commit unlawful activity. There are additional federal penalties for aggravated identity theft.
Several government agencies investigate and prosecute identity theft, including the Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You may face federal charges if you acquired a victim’s identity online or crossed state lines to commit fraud or identity theft. A federal identity theft conviction can be punishable by 5 to 30 years.
Arizona law carries harsh penalties for identity theft and forgery. Both offenses, outside aggravating factors, are Class 4 felonies. Each offense carries a presumptive 2.5-year prison sentence.
Aggravating factors can increase the penalties you face, however. Aggravated identity theft, a Class 3 felony, has a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years. A trafficking identity theft charge is a Class 2 felony with a 5-year presumptive sentence.
Note that presumptive sentences can be increased or decreased depending on the circumstances in your case. You may face a sentence higher than the presumptive term if, for example, you have a prior criminal record.
There are many ways you may defend yourself against accusations of identity theft and forgery. Criminal defense lawyers may recommend the following strategies to defend a Phoenix identity theft charge.
The state must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you are the person who took or used the person’s personal information or identity. You may have been wrongfully accused if law enforcement made a mistake.
A common defense to forgery and identity theft is a lack of sufficient evidence. It can be incredibly hard for investigators to track the perpetrator of identity theft or even determine exactly how, where, and when it happened. The state’s case may be built on unreliable information or circumstantial evidence.
You may be able to defend yourself if you can demonstrate that you thought you were using the other person’s information or their debit or credit card in good faith.
There may have been a simple misunderstanding in which you thought you had permission, for example. You might have lacked intent to commit the crime and deprive anyone if you were using the information to benefit the alleged victim, who may be a senior or dependent adult who needed assistance.
Under Arizona law, forgery or an identity theft crime comes with very harsh penalties. If you have been investigated or arrested for identity theft or related offenses, call Orent Law Offices as soon as possible. Our Phoenix identity theft and forgery lawyer will help you protect your rights and build your defense.
Call our law firm today for your free consultation to find out how we can help you.