Detroit Identity Theft Attorney
If you’ve been charged with committing identity theft, you could face lengthily jail time and heavy fines. Maurice Davis is an experienced Detroit identity theft lawyer who can help you fight these charges. Having worked both as a prosecutor and defense counsel, he knows how the prosecution builds cases and how best to defend against them. You can call today for a free and confidential consultation on your case. He has years of experience defending his clients from a number of theft-related charges. A Detroit theft lawyer can help guide you through this situation.
As more and more business and personal activities take place on electronic platforms, identity theft has become a widespread method of stealing and committing fraud. Faced with a wave of new, technology-oriented crime, the Michigan state legislature passed a series of laws in 2005 that apply specifically to identity theft.
How the Law Defines Identity Theft
The identity theft protection act is included in chapter 445 of the Michigan’s statutes. It prohibits the use or attempted use of the personal identifying information of another person to commit any unlawful act, or to obtain any of the following with the intent to defraud:
- Vital records
- Confidential telephone records
- Medical records or information
With respect to telephone records, the identity theft protection act specifies that it is unlawful to:
- Knowingly obtain or attempt to obtain a confidential telephone record without the authorization of the person to whom the record pertains by fraudulent, deceptive, or false means
- Knowingly sell or attempt to sell a confidential telephone record without the authorization of the person to whom the record pertains
- Receive a confidential telephone record while knowing that the record has been obtained through fraudulent, deceptive, or false means and without the authorization of the customer to whom the record pertains
Another section applies to phishing, or impersonating a business through digital means to obtain the personal information of its customers. Specifically, it is unlawful to:
- Send an email purporting to be from a business, without the authority or approval of the business, and use that email to request someone to provide personal identifying information with the intent to use that information to commit identity theft or another crime
- Create or operate an unauthorized webpage that represents itself as belonging to or being associated with a business that solicits personal identifying information from users with the intent to use that information to commit identity theft or another crime
- Alter someone’s computer, tablet, or smart phone to display an unauthorized message from a business that asks the user to provide personal identifying information with the intent to use that information to commit identity theft or another crime
Finally, the identity theft protection act makes it illegal to transfer, sell, or attempt to sell personal identifying information if there’s good reason to know the intended recipient will use or attempt to use the information to the purpose of committing identity theft or another crime. It is also illegal to falsify a police report of identity theft, or knowingly create, possess, or use a false police report of identity theft.
How the Law Punishes Identity Theft
According to the Michigan identity theft protection act, someone who commits any of the crimes described above for the first time may face up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. For the second violation, the law provides for up to 10 years of prison and fines that can reach $50,000. For the third and any subsequent violations, the prison time can reach 15 years, and the fine can be as high as $75,000.00.
A court can add any fines or jail time received under the identity theft protection to penalties for other laws you may have broken while committing the identity theft. Furthermore, if you are found guilty you may have to reimburse the victims under the laws of criminal restitution. Simply put, the penalties for committing identity theft are extremely harsh.
How You Can Defend Against a Charge of Identity Theft
In addition to the usual defenses available to criminal defendants, such as providing a plausible and lawful explanation of your actions, or denying that you acted with criminal intent, the identity theft protection act outlines several affirmative defenses. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to argue that:
- You used the personal identification information of the supposed victim for the purpose of making a gift to that person
- You were acting in the lawful pursuit or enforcement of the purported victim’s rights, including an investigation of a crime or an audit, collection, investigation, or transfer of a debt, child or spousal support obligation, tax liability, claim, receivable, account, or interest in a receivable or account
- Your acts were authorized or required by state or federal law, rule, regulation, or court order or rule
- You acted with the supposed victim’s consent—unless the person giving consent knew that their personal information would be used to commit an unlawful act
Detroit identity theft lawyer Maurice Davis has experience not only in criminal defense but also in prosecution. That allows him to see and understand the entire landscape of a criminal case, and to understand the thought process a prosecutor goes through when trying to build a case against you. That understanding gives Davis Law Group a unique perspective when defending you in court. Call Maurice Davis today at (313) 818-3238 for a consultation about your theft charge.