Third Degree Identity Theft: NY Penal Law 190.78

An arrest or conviction in New York for Identity Theft in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 190.78, is incapacitating on numerous levels. Not only is it likely to be devastating to your career and future, but it also has the potential to compromise your liberty and freedom. Make no mistake. An experienced New York Identity Theft defense attorney at your side is something that you should not merely consider but actively seek if you are charged with, investigated for or alleged to have committed an Identity Theft crime in New York City - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx – or any of the surrounding counties in the Hudson Valley from Westchester and Rockland to Putnam and Dutchess.

Third Degree Identity Theft: Understanding NY Penal Law 190.78

Although "only" a misdemeanor, a conviction for NY Penal Law 190.78 is quite severe. After all, spending up to one year in jail is beyond frightening whether its on Rikers Island or the Westchester County Jail. That being said, what is the law of Identity Theft in New York? How does one commit the crime of PL 190.78?

Generally speaking, you are guilty of Identity Theft in the Third Degree when you assume the identity of another person. Seems fairly clear, right? Beyond assuming his or her identity you must know you are doing so and your objective must be to defraud someone else. This intent to defraud need not be for monetary or financial gain. Moreover, when you assume this other person's identity you must present yourself as him or her or act as that other person by using their "personal identifying information." Statutorily defined in the New York Penal Law, "personal identifying information" is not limited to a name, credit card number, bank account number or social security number. In fact, other forms of identification appearing less harmful, such as a parent's maiden name, can the basis of an Identity Theft offense.

The second piece of this offense is that after you have assumed the other person's identity, acted as that person and used their personal identifying information, you must then obtain goods, property, services or money. Alternatively, you must use credit in the name of that person or cause that person financial loss. Although the monetary or value lost or obtained is relevant to other degrees of Identity Theft, there is no value element to Identity Theft in the Third Degree. In other words, if you use a debit card of another person without that person's permission to purchase a pack of cigarettes, you may have committed the crime of Identity Theft in the Third Degree. Compounding matters, if you signed the cardholder's name to the receipt, you may have unwittingly bumped your crime up to a felony by perpetrating both Forgery in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 170.10, and Identity Theft in the First Degree, New York Penal Law 190.8.

Because an individual who is alleged to have committed any Identity Theft crime is not likely to have the sympathy of the court or prosecutors, it is extremely important to ascertain the proper defense to the allegation and implement that defense before it becomes more difficult. Moreover, because a conviction for an Identity Theft crime will have horrific career consequences and other implications for those who are not citizens, timely resolving the case - whether through a "deal," trial or some other resolution - is imperative.

No Identity Theft attorney in New York can guarantee an outcome in your particular case, but he or she should have the knowledge and practical experience handling Identity Theft and the associated crimes. Our two founding New York criminal defense attorneys both served in Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Elizabeth Crotty served in both the Trial and Investigation Divisions and Jeremy Saland served in the Identity Theft Unit and Trial Division. While there, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau assigned Mr. Saland to the Identity Theft Major Case Section where he was the lead prosecutor in multi-jurisdictional Identity Theft fraud schemes with the Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service, Department of State and the NYPD.

It is this experience as prosecutors and New York criminal defense attorneys that our lawyers utilize and rely on to represent and defend clients accused of Identity Theft throughout the New York City region. If you have made a mistake and find yourself charged with a crime, don’t compound your situation and retain the right counsel to protect your future.

Call our NY criminal defense lawyers at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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