Identity Theft

Pittsburgh Identity Theft Defense Attorney

Identity theft is a serious criminal offense that has become a very public issue in recent years, particularly with the rise of digital profiles and financial accounts.  Observers estimate that millions of identity theft violations occur on an annual basis across the United States.  As a result of all this public attention, prosecutorial authorities have been fairly aggressive about pursuing litigation against offenders.

If you’ve been charged with identity theft in Pennsylvania, chances are that you’re concerned and anxious about the prospect of criminal litigation.  We can help.  Contact a Pittsburgh identity theft defense attorney at McKinney Law to learn more about your identity theft case and how you can avoid liability.

Defining Identity Theft Under Pennsylvania Law

According to Section 4120 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, a person commits the offense of identity theft if he…

  1. Possesses or uses identifying information of another person;
  2. Without the consent of that person; and
  3. To further any unlawful purpose.

For example, if you have obtained someone’s personal and credit card information without their consent and are using it to purchase online goods for yourself, that would constitute identity theft.

Penalties for Identity Theft

Identity theft is graded variably, depending on the value of the property or services obtained through the identifying information at issue.

  • If the total value is less than $2,000, the identity theft offense will be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • If the total value is $2,000 or more, it will be prosecuted as a third-degree felony.

There are other non-value-based enhancements to grading, too.

  • If the offense is committed in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy, it will be prosecuted as a third-degree felony (regardless of the total value).
  • If the identity theft offense is a third or subsequent offense, it will be prosecuted as a second-degree felony.
  • If the victim is 60 years of age or older, or is a care-dependent person, the grading of the offense will be upgraded to one higher (i.e., a third-degree felony will become a second-degree felony).

Given the grading variability, penalties for identity theft can range from up to five years of imprisonment and fines of up to $10,000 (for a first-degree misdemeanor) to up to 10 years imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000 (for a second-degree felony).

Identity theft can be quite a challenge to litigate, as every instance of the offense is counted as a separate offense.  What this means is that if you charge another person’s credit card multiple times, each instance is a separate offense that could expose you to liability.  With respect to penalties, the total values involved will simply be summed together.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Pittsburgh Identity Theft Defense Attorney

Here at McKinney Law, our attorneys have extensive experience advocating on behalf of defendants in a range of Pennsylvania criminal disputes, including those that involve fraud offenses such as identity theft.

We approach criminal litigation with a fundamentally client-oriented mentality.  Unlike many of our competitors, we engage closely with clients from the very early stages.  We understand that prospective criminal defendants may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of litigation, and as such, we make ourselves available to answer any questions or concerns they may have.  We provide responses to client inquiries within 24 hours and offer after-hours scheduling to make it easier for clients to meet with us.

Interested in speaking to a qualified attorney about your case?  Call (412) 520-3301 or send us an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a seasoned Pittsburgh identity theft defense attorney at McKinney Law.