Milwaukee Identity Theft Defense Attorneys
There are few crimes that have experienced such a dramatic increase in public attention as identity theft. The expanded use of the internet and the unnerving accessibility of personal data through misdirected mail, willful abuse of sensitive information, and other means has meant that more people than ever are having to contend with identity theft. Accordingly, the legal system treats these matters very seriously, and if you are currently faced with identity theft charges then it is imperative that you seek skilled and experienced legal representation immediately.
Whether you are being accused of identity theft, identity fraud, or identity cloning, we may be able to help you to craft a compelling defense. Contact the Milwaukee identity theft defense attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C., by calling (414) 271-9595 to begin your fight for justice.
What Is Identity Theft?
“Identity theft” can cover a wide range of possible crimes and is a growing problem in the United States.
In Wisconsin, according to state statute 943.201, identity theft happens when someone “intentionally uses, attempts to use, possesses with the intent to use any personal identifying information or personal identification documents of any individual,” living or deceased. Wisconsin statute 943.203 relates to identity theft against an entity, but the broad strokes are essentially the same.
Personally identifiable information and documents can include any documents that include that information, such as a driver’s license, any card used to buy goods or services, such as a credit card, or any other item that is linked to a specific individual and is used to access goods or services, like a debit card.
Personally identifiable information (PII) includes the following:
- Phone number
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s license number
- Employment information
- Maiden name
- Bank account number
- Taxpayer ID
- Biometric data
Types of Identity Theft
The following are some of the most common kinds of information likely to be stolen from one regarding an individual:
- Credit Cards
- Computer Identities
- Social Security
- Credit Unions
Identify theft also refers to presenting oneself with a false identity to officials. No matter the amount of financial damage that the identity theft caused, you may be facing serious legal consequences if found guilty. If you have been charged with one of these illegal actions, it is extremely important to speak to an attorney about your rights. Hiring an attorney immediately after the charges may help reduce the risk of a harsh sentence. Representation in the courtroom can greatly improve your chances of reducing the degree of your sentence.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Identity Theft Charges?
Though you’re certainly able to represent yourself in court to fight your identity theft charges in Milwaukee, not hiring a defense attorney to assist you would signal to the prosecuting attorney and the judge that you’re not taking your defense seriously. Hiring an attorney is more than just having someone stand next to you in court. It’s about having an advocate, someone who knows what they’re doing to protect your rights and help you use the law to beat your charges.
Here are some ways hiring a criminal defense attorney can help:
We know the law. We are intimately familiar with Wisconsin criminal law and the process of taking a case to court. We will use all our skills and knowledge to build a strong defense for your case and vigorously defend you against identity theft charges.
We know the people. The criminal law community in Milwaukee is interconnected. We know the prosecutors and judges that will be trying your case because we’ve been working with them for years. Fighting identity theft charges is about more than just knowing the facts of the case. It’s about knowing who you’re fighting and how they intend to fight back. Knowledge of a prosecutor’s tactics and methods can also make it easier to negotiate plea deals, lower fines or lessen jail time.
We do the work. Criminal defense law is all about preparation, and hiring an attorney means you leave the hard work to us. We will review your case, look at all the data, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to build you a strong defense based on facts and backed by evidence. We take on the in-depth tasks needed to prepare for your defense so you can get back to your life.
We are cheaper than fines. With an identity theft charge, the penalties are stiff: up to 6 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Although it may be expensive to hire an attorney when you factor in the amount of money you’d have to pay in fines as well as the wages you would lose while in prison if you’re convicted, hiring an attorney may actually be the better option.
Why Choose Hart Powell, S.C.?
Since 1993, Hart Powell, S.C. has been helping individuals in Milwaukee and elsewhere defend themselves against all kinds of criminal charges. We’ve seen it all, and we can put that experience to work for you. We believe in providing compassionate legal counsel. You are innocent until proven guilty, and we will treat you with dignity and professionalism while we build a strong defense against your identity theft charges.
We use a personalized approach to client interaction. We will listen to your side of the story and build a case based on the facts and supported by evidence. We keep an open line of communication at all times, updating you about the progress of your case throughout the entire process.
There’s no need to take our word for it. Head over to our Results page to read about some of our past successes.
Possible Defenses for an Identity Theft Charge
There are many possible strategies for defending against an identity theft charge, including the following:
- Mistaken identity. The prosecution must prove that you are the person who committed the crime. This can be harder than you might think, as most identity theft occurs online. It’s possible for another person or entity to steal your internet IP address and show that you committed identity theft when you did nothing of the sort.
- Permission to use information. If you can prove that the owner of the personal information that you used gave you specific permission to do so, there was no crime committed. For example, if a family member or acquaintance allowed you to use their credit card to make a purchase but then recanted that verbal permission, you cannot be convicted of identity theft.
- Lack of intent. The prosecution must be able to prove more than mere possession of another person or entity’s personal information; they must prove intent. They must prove that you planned to use this same personal information to commit some crime. If they cannot, you shouldn’t be convicted.
- Improper search and seizure. Normally, law enforcement must have obtained a warrant before they’re allowed to search your vehicle or your home. There are exceptions to this rule, such as if police believe evidence is being destroyed, or if they believe you are in the process of committing a crime and time is a factor, but if we can prove to a judge or jury that the evidence against you was obtained illegally, you should be able to avoid conviction.
- Insufficient evidence. The prosecution must present evidence showing beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime of identity theft. Beyond that, the evidence must be “sufficient.” If we can successfully argue that there is evidence linking you to the crime but that evidence is not sufficient enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime, we may be able to beat your charges.
The Milwaukee identity theft defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C., are here to help. Our attorneys are well versed in the laws regarding these crimes and are prepared to help you to understand your legal rights as you face criminal charges. Contact us today at (414) 271-9595.