Identity Theft Charges in Florida
Although many crimes are only punishable in either state or federal court, identity theft does not fall under this category. This is because identity theft is unlawful not only under federal law, but also under Florida law. However, the laws do require proof of different elements, making it especially important for those who have been charged with a white collar crime to speak with an attorney that is well-versed in both state and federal law.
In Florida, it is unlawful to use personal identification information for criminal purposes and those who are accused of doing so can be charged with a third degree felony, which are punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000. However, a person can only be convicted of this offense if the documentation used to commit the crime qualifies as personal identification information, which is specifically defined under state law as any name or number that can be used, either alone or in conjunction with other information, to identify a specific individual. Examples of personal identification information include:
- Email addresses;
- Postal addresses;
- Telephone numbers;
- Social Security Numbers;
- Birth dates;
- Mothers’ maiden names;
- Driver’s licenses;
- Passport numbers;
- Employer or taxpayer ids;
- Bank account numbers;
- Credit and debit card numbers;
- Biometric data, such as fingerprints, retina or iris scans, voice prints, and other physical representations;
- Medical records;
- Electronic identification numbers, addresses, and routing codes; and
- Any number or information that can be used to access someone’s financial resources.
State law specifically prohibits the willful and unauthorized use of this type of information. In fact, a person can be convicted of this offense even if he or she does not use the information, but is found in possession of it and had the intent to use it. Generally, this offense is considered a third degree felony, although it can be charged as a second degree felony, which is punishable by 15 years in prison if:
- The financial benefit or the amount of fraud perpetrated was $5,000 or more; or
- The defendant used the information of between ten and 20 people.
Those who are convicted of this offense must spend a minimum of three years in prison. Finally, defendants who are accused of identity theft in Florida could be charged with a first degree felony if the financial benefit or the value of the services received is more than $50,000 or the defendant used the information of between 20 and 30 people. First degree felonies are punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment. However, defendants who are convicted will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. The sentence will be increased to a minimum of ten years imprisonment if the amount of the fraud was $100,000 or more or the information of 30 or more people was used.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
Please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami at 305-670-9919 to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.