Merely using the wrong name or borrowing another person’s driver’s license may constitute identity theft. If the government has filed an action against you, you may be worried about possible jail sentences, fines, and a damaged reputation. Organizations may also deny you certain employment positions after a conviction as well.

Your best course of attack may be speaking with a Charleston identity theft lawyer. An accomplished fraud attorney could help you understand the laws, how the legal system works, and what you can expect throughout the criminal justice process. Because of the sensitive nature of an identity theft charge, you may wish to build an aggressive defense.

Identity Theft Laws in Charleston

Several laws relate to identity theft. The most serious crime may be financial identity fraud, but other acts, such as providing a false ID to a non-citizen or a minor, could also result in severe consequences. For more information, consult with a dedicated defense lawyer.

Financial Identity Fraud

Whenever a person attempts to take another person’s identifying information without permission, they violate South Carolina Code §16-13-510. If done with unlawful intent to acquire or steal money, the following acts could carry significant penalties:

  • Obtaining another person’s money for the benefit of oneself,
  • Making a plan or scheme to defraud, or
  • Obtaining something of value through false pretenses, representations, or promises by first getting another person’s identifying information.

Identifying Information

The law prohibits another person from unlawfully obtaining any of the following information for fraudulent purposes:

  • State issued number on driver’s license or identification card,
  • Checking or savings account numbers,
  • Social security number,
  • Credit or debit card numbers,
  • PINs,
  • Digital signatures,
  • Electronic ID numbers,
  • Passwords and other information used to access a person’s financial resources.

Penalties for Financial Identity Theft

Identity theft is a felony offense. In addition to a period of incarceration and a fine, the court may also order restitution, which means the defendant must restore the victim to the same financial situation that they were in before the fraud occurred. The penalties are severe, which is why a defendant should seek the services of an identity theft lawyer in Charleston as soon as possible.

Identity Fraud for an Illegal Alien

If a person violates the laws related to financial identity fraud or identity theft to help an illegal alien live or work in the United States, or receive government benefits, that is an additional offense under S.C. Code §16-13-525. If an unlawful alien uses a fake ID, a first offense is a misdemeanor, and the penalty may be 30 days in jail and a $100 fine. A second offense is a felony, which may include a fine of $500 and five years in prison.

Learn More from a Charleston Identity Theft Attorney

If you are facing identity theft charges, you may require help and advice from a legal professional. Consider consulting with an experienced lawyer before speaking with the police or government agent. A Charleston identity theft lawyer could represent you during questioning and trial and work to protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process. A criminal defense attorney may also be able to create an aggressive strategy to garner the best outcome in your circumstances. Call today to get started.