What Are California’s Identity Theft Laws?

Identity theft is a very common crime in our modern and digitized world. Much of our personal information can be easily found on the web. It is crucial to not only know how to protect your identity, but to know the different ways that you could be accused of identity theft. In the state of California, there are specific laws that outline what a California citizen should do if he or she is charged with an identity theft crime.

What Does California Say About Identity Theft?

California Penal Code Section 530.5-530.55 lists some important information regarding identity theft charges in the state. This law provides details on:

  • Unlawful purpose. The prosecutor has to prove an unlawful purpose for the personally identifying information. Some activities that demonstrate an unlawful purpose for this information include applying for credit, buying goods or property, or finding and requesting medical information.
  • Personally identifying information. The types of information that could be unlawfully taken during an identity theft crime include the victim’s name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, passport information, address, phone number, bank account, credit card numbers and fingerprints.
  • Sentences and other penalties. The sentencing of an identity theft crime in California usually depends on the circumstances and severity of the crime itself. It does not always depend on the unlawful purpose.

What Are Defenses to California Identity Theft Charges?

As the defendant, you can use the defense that you were given consent by the owner of the personally identifying information, or you can prove that the information was not used for an unlawful purpose. If you have been charged with identity theft in California, you will want to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Contact Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson today for a free initial consultation.

What Kinds of Environmental Crimes Could I Be Accused Of?

Environmental crime is a new kind of crime that has unfortunately been growing in our country over recent years. Large corporations may be found guilty of environmental crimes, but smaller businesses and individuals can also be charged with them. The number one most common type of criminal environmental act that anyone can commit is to improperly dispose hazardous waste material. In order to avoid serious penalties and prison time, it is beneficial to know more about these environmental crimes and how you can avoid them.

How Can Individuals and Companies be Charged with an Environmental Crime?

  • Illegal hazardous waste disposal: This kind of environmental crime can range from unintentional spills in vehicle accidents on freeways to planned illegal disposal. Leaving tank valves open to slowly release harmful gases and liquids into the air and ground is also included in this crime. Some planned acts can also include renting a truck, filling it with harmful gas, and abandoning it somewhere, or renting a storage unit and filling it with waste drums. Businesses should especially be careful when hiring haulers to transport their chemicals, because they could easily pocket the money and illegally dispose the material elsewhere.
  • Illegal disposal of tires, construction and demolition materials: If you dump your used tires in an improper or illegal fashion, the tires could catch fire and release toxic substances into the air, which damages the environment. Leftover materials from construction and demolition sites can have illegal debris dumped alongside the surrounding roads, which can result in community clean ups that then expose people to the dangerous toxins.
  • Abandoned household appliances: Before throwing away your household appliances, make sure you read the disposal instructions on the product. Mercury can leak from the appliances and expose humans to mercury vapors, which can be deadly for our health.

An environmental crime is a type of fraud that can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the result of damage and injuries from the crime committed. If you have been charged with an environmental crime and you are seeking legal representation in criminal court, now is the time to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson today.

What Is the Difference Between Larceny and Theft?

When it comes to criminal law, there are many different terms in reference to the type of crime you might have committed. All of these different terms can be confusing, and sometimes people might be wondering what they all really mean in legal terms. Two criminal terms that often get confused with one another are larceny and theft. There is a slight difference between these two types of crimes, and it’s important that you know these differences if you are charged with one of them.

What Is Larceny?

Larceny is actually a type of theft. It involves a person taking property such as goods or money without the owner’s permission or consent for personal use. There are two types of larceny: petty and grand larceny. Petty larceny is a misdemeanor crime where an individual takes property valued at a small amount. Grand larceny, however, includes stealing property at a much higher value. In general, you can define larceny as the stealing of personal property such as items, jewelry, or money just with the intent of having the item for themselves. Larceny would not involve seizing other property such as real estate.

What Is Theft?

Theft is the taking of property from an individual without permission or consent with the intent to use or sell. For example, a person who steals an item from a store and then attempts to sell this item later has committed theft. Theft can also be seen as more of a generic term involving all property crimes, including larceny. It can also be divided into petty and grand thefts. Unlike larceny, however, theft can involve many different types, such as robbery, identity theft, burglary, embezzlement, fraud, etc.

If you believe that you have committed larceny or theft, our criminal attorneys at Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson will help defend you in criminal court. Contact us today for a free consultation.