Identity Theft in the Third Degree

An arrest or conviction in New York for Identity Theft in the Third Degree (NY PL 190.78) is destructive 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 criminal defense attorney at your side is something that you should consider 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.

Although "only" a misdemeanor, a conviction for New York PL 190.78 is punishable by up to one year in jail. If this arrest is anywhere in New York City, the time served will be on the infamous Rikers Island.

Generally speaking, you are guilty of Identity Theft in the Third Degree when you assume the identity of another person. Further, you must assume this identity knowingly and with the intent to defraud. This intent to defraud need not be for monetary (money or financial) gain. Moreover, when you assume this other person's identity you must present yourself as this person or act as that other person by using that person's "personal identifying information." Specifically 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 190.80). Further information on Identity Theft in the First Degree and the felony "bump up" charge can be found through the highlighted link.

Because an individual who is alleged to have perpetrated 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 as well as serous 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 criminal defense lawyer or 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, Mr. Saland was assigned 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 criminal lawyers utilize to represent and defend clients accused of Identity Theft throughout the New York City region.

Further information on Identity Theft crimes, laws and cases in the news can be found on the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog's Identity Theft Section.

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

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