What constitutes identity theft in Florida?

Identity theft has become an increasingly popular crime during the past few decades. The tactics would-be criminals use to procure sensitive personal data have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. Both federal and state lawmakers have quickly drafted additional legislation to penalize individuals who law enforcement suspect of stealing identities. Many identity theft statutes are currently on the books here in Florida.

Florida Statute (Fla. Stat.) §817.02 is more of a generic code that applies to instances in which someone obtains property for false impersonation purposes. Anyone convicted of this criminal offense may face some of the same penalties associated with a larceny conviction in the state.

There are multiple parts to Fla. Stat. §817.568. Prosecutors may charge defendants who criminally used someone's personal identification information with this crime. Defendants may face varying penalties depending on the crime and the potential financial losses suffered by their alleged victim. Any offense that involves the use of a minor or deceased person's information, harassment or the production of counterfeit documents may result in enhanced penalties. Anyone convicted of such a crime may face jail time and also have to pay restitution.

Another identity theft statute is Fla. Stat. §817.5685. This code has to do with a suspect's unlawful possession of someone else's personal information. Prosecutors who allege that a defendant possessed four or fewer people's personal information may face first-degree misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors may charge someone who possesses five or more people's data with a third-degree felony. The nature of a suspect's work relationship may impact whether such possession is illicit or not.

There has been an uptick in news stories about individuals trying to take financial advantage of older Floridians in recent years. Instances like these have led our local officials to warn residents about signs of identity theft. Things don't always look as they seem, though.

You owe it to yourself to seek out the counsel of a defense attorney if you're facing identity theft charges here in Tampa. Your lawyer will review the details surrounding your case and let you know if your actions rose to the level of impropriety, according to Florida law.

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