Arizona had more than 28,000 reports of identity theft in 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The state of Arizona takes cases of identity theft very seriously, and if convicted, an offender could face harsh penalties. The consequences of an identity theft conviction in Arizona can range depending on the type of identity theft and if you are a repeat offender. Due to the seriousness of this crime, it is critical to have a strong defense team on your side to fight on your behalf.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone steals another individual’s personal information and uses it to take their money, file tax returns, open credit accounts, make health insurance claims, or perform similar actions without their consent. Once an individual’s personal information is stolen, it can be used to rent an apartment, make purchases, get a loan, obtain utilities, purchase a vehicle, receive medical services, or do other activities.
Due to advancements in technology, identity theft can also occur over the internet. This means that someone thousands of miles away could potentially steal the identity of another person in a different city, state, or country. Some of the most common ways that identity thieves access personal data are through data breaches, unsecure browsing, dark web marketplaces, malware activity, phishing attacks, and wi-fi hacking.
What are the Three Types of Identity Theft in Arizona?
In Arizona, the law states that there are three primary types of identity theft. According to A.R.S. §13-2008, §13-2009, and §13-2010, these include:
1. Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when a person takes another individual’s name and personal information, such as their social security number, and uses it without their permission to perform certain activities, such as opening a new account.
Identity theft could mean the theft of either a real or fictitious identity for an unlawful purpose that causes a loss for an individual or entity. This type of theft may also be used to obtain or continue employment.
2. Aggravated Identity Theft
Aggravated identity theft occurs when a person knowingly transfers, uses, or possesses without permission the identification of another person, and then uses this identification to perform an act in relation to a felony violation.
What makes aggravated identity theft different from standard identity theft is that the offender obtained the personal identifying information of three or more individuals or entities, whether real or fictitious, with the intent to use their identities for unlawful purposes.
3. Identity Trafficking
Identity trafficking occurs when a person commits trafficking in the personal identity of another individual or entity.
An offender may sell, transfer, or transmit any personal identifying information or the identifying information of an entity, whether a real fictitious person or entity.
What are the Penalties for Identity Theft in Arizona?
The punishment for identity theft is based on several factors, such as the type performed and the number of victims. Depending on the severity of the case and the harm it caused to its victims, the judge also has some discretion to decrease or increase the penalty. However, a prosecutor may suggest lowering the sentence if the defendant is cooperative or pleads guilty.
Penalties for identity theft are based on the class of charges that the person was convicted of, which range from felony class 4 to felony class 2:
- Identity Theft – A charge of identity theft is a class 4 felony and comes with a minimum jail time of 1.5 years and a maximum jail time of 3 years. If convicted, you could also face a fine of up to $150,000.
- Aggravated Identity Theft – A charge of aggravated identity theft is a class 3 felony and comes with a minimum jail time of 2.5 years and a maximum jail time of 7 years. If convicted, you could also face a fine of up to $150,000.
- Identity Trafficking – A charge of identity trafficking is a class 2 felony and comes with a minimum jail time of 4 years and a maximum jail time of 10 years. If convicted, you could also face a fine of up to $500,000.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Identity theft is considered a very serious offense in Arizona and can carry jail time and a hefty fine. If you have been charged with identity theft, it’s important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. At JacksonWhite, our team of highly qualified criminal defense attorneys has extensive experience handling identity theft cases throughout the state.
At JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law, we understand that people make mistakes, and we work hard to ensure that you have a bright future. To learn more about how we can help you with your case or to schedule a consultation with our criminal law team, contact our office today at (480) 467-4370.