Identity theft is a serious crime in Wisconsin, and if you’re convicted of it, you’ll face serious penalties. This type of crime is generally categorized as “white collar,” but that’s not a technical or legal term. (White collar crime refers to generally non-violent offenses that typically involve money or assets.)
Here’s what you need to know about the consequences of identity theft.
To understand the consequences of identity theft, you have to understand the types of crimes it refers to. You can be charged with identity theft if you use someone’s personal identifying information or documents without permission, like ID cards, credit cards or even someone else’s name or Social Security number. The court can convict you if you use one of these things – or try to use one of these things – to:
- Obtain credit, money, goods, services, employment or anything else of value or benefit
- Avoid civil or criminal process or penalty
- Harm the reputation, property, person or estate of the individual to whom the identity belongs
Even if the person whose identity you have taken is deceased, you can still be charged with and convicted of a crime.
The consequences of a conviction are serious. You’ll be facing a Class H felony, which means the court can sentence you to up to 3 years in prison with 3 years of extended supervision. He or she could also fine you up to $10,000 (that’s on top of the prison time).
Specific Personal Information
Wisconsin law recognizes a wide range of personal identifying information when it comes to identity theft. You can be charged and convicted if you have – and intend to use without authorization – another person’s:
- Name, address and telephone number
- Driver’s license number
- Social Security number or Taxpayer ID number
- Employer or place of employment, or employee identification number
- Maiden name
- Bank or other account numbers
- DNA profile
- PIN number, account codes, serial numbers or any other way of accessing someone else’s account
- Biometric data (like fingerprints, retina scans, voice replications or any other unique physical representation of a person)
- Information that can be uniquely associated with another person
The key, though, is having this information and using (or intending to use) it for your benefit in some way or to harm a person.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About the Consequences of Identity Theft?
If you’ve been accused of identity theft and need legal advice, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation today.