What Can Happen If You're Charged With Identity Theft
Identity theft is something that has been around for a long time. As technology has advanced and more information is stored digitally, it has become much easier for identity theft to occur. However, even something as simple as forging someone's signature on something can be considered identity theft. If you are charged with this crime, you may wonder what will happen if you go to trial. The answer to that depends on several factors.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
One of the most important things to know about your identity theft charges is whether or not your state considers the crime to be a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are crimes that are not as serious as felonies, and usually require minimal jail time, if any at all. In a lot of cases with misdemeanors, fines are imposed and the person convicted of the crime is put on probation for a period of time. However, if you are a repeated offender, the judge may require you to serve time in jail instead of giving you probation.
Some states consider certain identity theft charges to be considered different classes of misdemeanors or felonies. If that is true for the state you are charged in, it can greatly impact what will happen if you are convicted of the crime.
Multiple Charges Doesn't Necessarily Mean Multiple Convictions
Since different identity theft charges can lead to different sentences, it can be extremely distressing to be charged with more than one count of identity theft. However, the prosecution has to prove that you are guilty of each charge. Just because they prove one of the identity theft charges, doesn't mean all of the others are automatically proven.
It can be very difficult for the prosecution to prove you are guilty of identity theft charges because they have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. And, depending on how many separate charges you are facing, it can be a daunting task to do. So, if you are standing before the judge and you hear that you have been found guilty of your first charge, there is no guarantee that the jury was convinced of your guilt on the other charges.
Understand Your Ability to Appeal If Convicted
If you are convicted of any identity theft charges, you have the right to appeal your conviction. However, this only applies if your conviction wasn't from a plea deal with the prosecution. You can only appeal your conviction if the case went to trial and you were convicted that way.
If you are innocent and want to appeal, you have can do one of several things. You can ask that the judge overturn the guilty verdict returned by the jury, request a new trial, or ask a higher court to overturn your conviction. As long as you file your appeal in time, you are at least guaranteed a review of your trial by an appellate court. So, never take a conviction lying down if you truly believe you are innocent. For more information, contact a criminal defense attorney (like those at Alvine & King LLP).