Have you been charged with identity theft in Indianapolis, IN? Identity fraud is a theft offense and considered a white collar crime. You might face identity fraud charges for simply possessing someone else’s identifying information, even if no one suffered any losses or harm. When you are facing a serious felony offense, you deserve sound legal representation to fight for your freedom.
Suhre & Associates, LLC has represented clients in Marion County for more than 20 years. We will put over one century of combined legal experience toward your criminal defense. Contact our law office today for a free case review with an Indianapolis identity theft lawyer to discuss how we can help you.
How Suhre & Associates, LLC Can Help When You’re Charged with Identity Theft in Indianapolis
When you are facing a felony charge, it’s important to take action quickly to defend yourself. Identity theft is taken seriously in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is a federal offense. You may face multiple charges under state and federal law if an aggressive prosecutor seeks the maximum penalties.
An experienced Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer at Suhre & Associates, LLC will help you fight back against the charges you face. Our team includes a former prosecutor and a former police officer who provide insight into the prosecution’s strategies.
You can trust our Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys to:
- Give you sound guidance and legal advice for decisions about your defense
- Safeguard your constitutional rights
- Investigate the circumstances of your arrest to determine if your rights were violated
- Develop a multi-faceted legal defense based on expert testimony, evidentiary challenges, and more
- Seek reduced charges or dismissal if there is insufficient evidence of your charge
- Seek the best possible resolution to your case, including a plea bargain, not guilty verdict, or the most lenient sentencing
- Present a persuasive defense to a jury if your case proceeds to court
Give Suhre & Associates, LLC a phone call today to schedule your free consultation. Our Indianapolis identity theft attorneys are ready to give you the robust defense you deserve.
Overview of Identity Theft in Indiana
Under Indiana law, identity theft is referred to as “identity deception.” There are two statutes that define identity theft: identity deception (Section 35-43-5-3.5) and synthetic identity deception (Section 35-43-5-3.8).
Identity deception refers to intentionally obtaining, using, transferring, or possessing the identifying information of another person when:
- The person has not given consent; and
- The defendant intended to assume the person’s identity, defraud or harm another, or claim to be another person.
Identifying information can include a name, birth date, address, mother’s maiden name, employee or employer ID number, Social Security number, driver’s license number, and more.
This statute does not apply to minors who use another’s identifying information to obtain privileges that are denied to minors, such as alcohol or tobacco products.
Identity theft is typically a Level 6 felony. However, it can be enhanced to a Level 5 felony in certain circumstances.
Synthetic Identity Deception
Synthetic identity deception occurs when a person uses a partially or completely fabricated identity. Synthetic identity theft rarely affects consumers. However, a victim may be affected if their name is confused with the synthetic identity or the use of a partial identity is somehow linked to the real identity.
Examples of Identity Deception
There are several offenses that are related to identity deception in Indiana:
- Impersonation of a public servant. This offense is sometimes called criminal impersonation. It is a crime to intentionally deceive or induce compliance by impersonating a public servant. The charge is elevated for impersonation of a law enforcement officer or agent of a department that collects state revenue or any other property.
- Medicaid fraud under Indiana’s False Claims Act. This law makes it a crime for anyone to knowingly submit false or fraudulent claims for payment to the state or otherwise defraud Medicaid. It can be charged against providers as well as individuals.
- Credit card fraud. You can be charged with fraud under Section 35-43-5-4 if you obtain property using someone else’s credit card without their permission.
- Application fraud under Section 35-43-5-2. This refers to applying for a driver’s license or state ID card and making false statements, concealing material facts, or using a false or fictitious name or identification.
These are only some examples of offenses that may be charged alongside identity deception in Indiana.
Identity Theft Can Be a Federal Offense
Most forms of identity fraud are charged at the state level. However, identity theft is also a federal offense. Identity theft can be charged under many federal statutes, including the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998.
Under this statute, unlawfully using or transferring another person’s identifying information with the intent to commit or aid in unlawful activity is punishable by up to 15 years in federal prison.
Additional federal charges related to identity theft include:
- Identification fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1028)
- Financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344)
- Wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
- Computer fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030)
- Credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029)
All federal identity theft charges are felonies. You may face up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted.
What Are the Penalties for Identity Theft in Indianapolis, IN?
Most identity theft cases in Indianapolis are charged as Level 6 felonies. This is the lowest felony level and punishable by six months to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Certain circumstances can make identity deception a Level 5 felony:
- Obtaining, transferring, using, or possessing identifying information (including synthetic information) of 100+ people;
- Offenses that causes harm or fraud of at least $50,000; or
- The victim is a minor under 18 and the offender is a parent or guardian
As a Level 5 felony, the penalty for identity deception is one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
A felony conviction can have life-long consequences. Identity fraud can affect child custody and your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, or qualify for benefits. As a crime of moral turpitude, it can also cause you to lose your professional license and affect immigration.
What Legal Defenses Are Available to Identity Theft Charges in Indianapolis, Indiana?
There may be multiple defense options available when you are charged with identity deception. At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we have extensive experience defending clients in identity theft cases.
The following defense strategies may be valuable in your case:
- Insufficient evidence. The prosecutor must show you are guilty of all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Identity theft cases are often built on circumstantial evidence.
- Lack of Intent. The prosecutor must show you intended to commit fraud or harm. You have a valid defense if you did not intend to commit fraud. You may have believed you had permission to use the information. Or, you may have had a valid reason to possess someone else’s identifying information.
- Consent. You have a defense to identity theft if you had the alleged victim’s permission to possess, obtain, or use their personal information. You may have had permission to use someone’s credit card or identifying information.
- Mistaken identity. The prosecution must show that you were the person who obtained, took, used, or possessed the other person’s identity or identifying information. Law enforcement may have made a mistake or you may have been falsely accused.
It is not a defense to identity deception that there was no theft victim. Merely being found with another person’s identifying information with evidence of intent can be enough to face an identity theft charge.
In addition to building a defense strategy, your Indianapolis identity theft defense lawyer will investigate whether your constitutional rights were violated or there was police misconduct. For example, if evidence was mishandled or obtained through an illegal search and seizure, we will seek to have the evidence suppressed.
Contact an Indianapolis Identity Theft Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation
Identity deception in Indianapolis is a serious offense. You may even face federal charges, particularly if the internet or mail was involved. You are innocent until proven guilty, and Suhre & Associates, LLC will fight for your freedom and good name.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case review with an Indianapolis identity theft lawyer ready to help you.