What to Do If You’re Falsely Accused of Identity Theft
If you’ve been wrongly charged with identity theft, you’re probably outraged – especially if you’ve been honest all your life and have a clean record to prove it.
Identity theft is a serious offense that carries stiffer penalties than you might think. Where do you start to defend yourself against a charge of identity theft?
First of all, remain silent. Second, call an experienced identity theft defense lawyer to represent you. At Clark, Clark & Noonan, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience as prosecutors, giving you the advantage of having a lawyer who understands all sides of your case. This is important when developing a strategy to best defend you.
Navigating the complex legal procedures can be quite a challenge. Hiring Clark, Clark & Noonan can bring you clarity and peace of mind, which are critical in helping us prove your innocence and clear your good name.
1. Gather All Types of Relevant Evidence
Identity theft involves stealing someone else’s personal information intending to make purchases or commit criminals acts without those acts being attached to your identity.
Sometimes, an innocent act is construed as identity theft. In other cases, you can be wrongly accused of identity theft due to mistaken identities and misunderstandings. Perhaps you were acting innocently, at the behest of someone else, not on your own.
A few examples of identity theft include:
- Setting up a fraudulent bank account in someone else’s name
- Using a credit or debit card that isn’t yours
- Accessing an individual’s personal information, such as his or her medical record, without the proper authorization
- Using another individual’s birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, or another identifying document in order to impersonate him or her
Depending on the facts of the case, you are your own greatest asset in building your defense. You know the specifics and have the most to gain by getting everything on the table. Document any facts, timeframes, witnesses, circumstances or other pertinent information.
For instance, if you are facing an identity theft accusation because you have sensitive banking information that belongs to someone else, evidence showing that the information was sent to your home by mistake could be key to demonstrating that you didn’t actually steal it. It might have been due to a post office error or because that individual resided at your address before you did and failed to update his or her mailing address information.
How you used the information in your possession if at all, can also be part of your defense strategy. If you did not make use of the information illegally, it can be difficult to demonstrate that you intentionally stole it.
2. Work with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Identity theft is a serious crime. It is the stealing of another individual’s personal information, often with the intention of using that information to make purchases or commit criminal acts without having such acts attached to your identity.
Sometimes, an innocent act is construed as identity theft. In other cases, individuals are wrongly accused of identity theft due to mistaken identities and misunderstandings. If you are accused of identity theft, no matter what the reason for the accusation, you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer to pursue the best possible outcome in your situation.
3. Develop Your Strongest Defense Strategy
Your defense strategy will be built around the facts of your case. For example, if you used another party’s credit or debit card with his or her permission, the fact that you had permission could be part of your defense strategy. How you used the information in your possession if at all, can also be part of your defense strategy. If you did not make use of the information illegally, it could be difficult to demonstrate that you intentionally stole it.
If you’ve been charged with identity theft or any other type of criminal offense, you need to start working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A lot is at stake.
The law enforcement agency that charged you may just be the tip of the iceberg. Because identity theft is such a common offense, you can expect local, state, and federal authorities to work cooperatively to investigate. This may result in additional charges.
You risk being convicted of your offense and facing penalties like fines and jail time. Plus, you may have to repay any funds you’re convicted of stealing.
Get started on your defense strategy now, before important pieces of evidence are lost or destroyed.
Why It Is Better to Hire an Attorney Rather Than Fight Your Case Yourself
Identity theft charges are an area of criminal law that’s beyond the skills of most laypeople. A lawyer can provide objective legal advice for your case and help you understand your rights, while also grappling with the complications, jargon, and procedures. Without this level of experience and knowledge, your defense could be weak.
If the charges against you are legitimate, then you must surely take responsibility for your actions. In such a case, your criminal defense attorney will work to reduce your penalties to a minimum possible.
Contact the Identity Theft Defense Attorneys at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC
With extensive trial experience and a personal commitment to securing the best outcome for you, the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC want to help you during this difficult and stressful time.
As former prosecutors, Charles Clark and Ryan Clark have successfully handled thousands of criminal cases. Our firm also offers the benefits that come with a board-certified criminal trial attorney, which is a designation Charles Clark is proud to have earned.
For criminal defense, we’re the locals’ choice in Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, and surrounding areas of New Jersey. For your free consultation, call us 24/7 or reach out online, and let’s get started.