Our digital identities are everything and most people handle their entire lives through services like online banking, shopping, and even cloud-based workspaces. We use a combination of websites, mobile app, and online software to handle almost everything important about our own lives and most people don’t give a second thought to the idea of identity theft. Those who do imagine a lurking criminal stealing checkbooks or a hacker with hidden spyware. While these are legitimate forms of identity theft, the fact of the matter is that this is also an every-day issue.
The most common instances of identity theft are usually between relatives and close friends, often by accident or without realizing that borrowing someone’s ID or filling out their medical paperwork is against the law. Whether you made a mistake, are being falsely accused, or a prank has gone way out of hand, if you have been charged with identity theft, it’s important to understand that there could be serious personal consequences.
Loss and Damage
The penalties for identity theft are based primarily on how much money was lost as a result of the theft. Fortunately for the smaller crimes, this means that people who made a small mistake using a family member’s or friend’s identification are likely to face a much lower charge than those actually looking to commit fraud and possibly even frame another person for crimes done in their name. However, if you have been charged with identity theft relating to a large amount of money or damages, the consequences can be severe.
Penalties for $250 in Losses
The first tier of consequences starts small. If there is a single victim and the amount of money stolen, lost, or cost in damages is less than $250, there are two maximum sentences and no minimums. For this tier, you may be imprisoned for up to 90 days and you may have to pay a fine of up to $700.
- 90 Days in Jail
- $700 in Fines
Penalties for $500 in Losses
Larger sums or damages rate a higher tier of penalties is much higher in both jail time and the maximum fine in order to discourage criminal behavior. For single victim crimes in which there is less than $500 in losses or damages, you can be put in jail for up to an entire year and fined up to $3,000.
- 1 Year in Jail
- $3,000 in Fines
Penalties for $2,500 in Losses
This tier or penalties can be reached in one of two ways, or both. The crime must either have involved two to three victims who had their identities stolen or the amount stolen or lost was between $500 and $2,5000, you could be sentenced for up to five years in prison and an incredible $10,000 fine if the court decides to choose the maximum possible punishments.
- 5 Years in Jail
- $10,000 in Fines
Penalties for Over $2,500 in Losses
Finally, if the identity theft crime you’re accused of involves four or more victims or if the total losses equal more than $2,500, you may qualify for the highest possible tier of identity theft penalties. In this scenario, you could be sentenced to a grand total of 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
- 10 Years in Jail
- $20,000 in Fines
To top all of this off, if you are convicted of identity theft, it is also entirely possible that you will be asked to pay restitution to the victims. There is no legal maximum to this number but you can expect it to be at least $1,000 per victim. This is meant to pay them for the hardship and the time they spent trying to recover their identities.
Have you been charged with or accused of identity theft? If so, this is a very serious situation and you will need skilled legal counsel to help you through this difficult experience. For more information about where you can find an experienced identity theft defense lawyer in Minnesota, contact us today!