The rapid increase in the number of identity theft cases has alarmed law enforcement officials at the federal, state, and local levels. From scanning credit card numbers at self-serve gas pumps to downloading sensitive personal information from a hacked computer, identity theft has morphed into one of the most frequently committed crimes in the United States.
It is also a crime that can dramatically turn your life upside down.
We know the life changing impact identity theft has on the victims of the financially motivated crime. However, what about the alleged perpetrators of identity fraud crimes that are innocent of all charges. Improperly charged defendants of identity theft crimes also have to deal with a lifetime’s worth of anguish. Who defends innocent defendants that face numerous years behind bars because of bogus identity fraud charges?
The identity fraud attorneys at Greer Tisinger understand the seriousness of facing one or more identity theft charges. Law enforcement agencies at all levels are going harder than ever after alleged identity theft perpetrators. In the face of increasing pressure from consumers, some identity theft cases do not pass the legal test.
If you have been charged with identity fraud, you have to take swift action to counter the charges by working with the team of identity theft lawyers at Greer Tisinger.
How Georgia Defines Identity Fraud
Georgia statute O.C.G.A. § 16-9-121 defines identity theft by clearly listing several criteria:
“(1) Without authorization or consent, uses or possesses with intent to fraudulently use identifying information concerning a person;
(2) Uses identifying information of an individual under 18 years old over whom he or she exercises custodial authority;
(3) Uses or possesses with intent to fraudulently use identifying information concerning a deceased individual;
(4) Creates, uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a fictitious person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identification information for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a crime or fraud on another person; or
(5) Without authorization or consent, creates, uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a real person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identification information for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a crime or fraud on another person.”
What are the Penalties for Identity Theft in Georgia?
Identity theft is considered a felony in the State of Georgia. Statute O.C.G.A. § 16-9-126 states the punishment for a first time identity fraud conviction is a prison sentence between one and 10 years, as well as a fine than cannot be more than $100,000. Georgia ramps up the penalties for repeat offenders of identity theft, with a second conviction bringing about jail time between three and 15 years and a fine that can go as high as $250,000.
Aggravated Identity Theft
Georgia consumer protection law differentiates between different kinds of identity theft acts. For example, Georgia law considers using another person’s identity to secure employment to be aggravated identity theft. A conviction for aggravated identity theft results in a prison sentence up to 15 years and a fine that cannot exceed $250,000.
Forgery represents a separate identity fraud charge that Georgia divides into first and second degree crimes. First degree forgery can result in a prison sentence up to 10 years. The lesser crime of second degree forgery triggers jail time up to five years in prison.
The State of Georgia can ask criminal courts to add more penalties to an identity theft conviction. Additional penalties often depend on special circumstances that relate to an identity fraud case.
Defending Identity Theft Cases
The identity fraud attorneys at Greer Tisinger cannot emphasize enough the importance of treating your charges with the utmost sense of urgency. Every day waiting for the charges to be dismissed is a lost opportunity to build a strong case that proves your innocence. With the burden of proof being “Beyond a reasonable doubt,” our team of identity theft lawyers will thoroughly review your case to discover the smallest cracks in the prosecution’s case.
The most effective strategy for fighting an identity theft charge is to prove the victim granted the defendant permission to use his or he personal information. We will depose and if necessary, cross examine the victim to determine whether he or she willingly gave you personal information. We will also question the institutions responsible for securing personal information to determine the reasons for a security breach.
Identity Fraud Requires a Vigorous Defense
The fact that prosecutors go after identity theft defendants hard means you need a Georgia licensed identity theft attorney to fight back vigorously against all charges presented against you. We know the immense pressure an identity fraud defendant faces, which motivates us to work efficiently to reach a resolution of the case that is in your favor.
Reach out to one of our identity fraud lawyers today to schedule an initial consultation that determines the best course of legal action to take. You can complete the easy to fill out online form found on the Greer Tisinger website or call our law firm at 404-566-6634.
When you are facing a challenging situation, you do not need to do it alone. We can help. Turn to Greer Tisinger. To
schedule a free initial consultation, call 770-836-8327 or contact us online.