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.