How to Defend Against Identity Theft Allegations in Court
Identity theft can be an extremely frightening accusation. It can feel like there’s nowhere to turn and no hope for a good defense. It is possible, however, to defend against identity theft allegations in court.
In this article, we provide tips on how to defend your case successfully. Whether you are facing a criminal trial or just trying to clear your name from false accusations, this information will help.
Florida’s Legal Definition of Identity Theft
According to Florida statute 817.568, identity theft occurs when someone “knowingly and without the authorization or permission of another person uses personal information such as a driver's license number, Social Security number, credit card number, or other financial account number for their own benefit or another’s benefit.”
Such acts could include fraudulently applying for credit in someone else's name or using another person's identity information to obtain employment. Florida considers the very possession of someone’s ID with the intent to use it a form of identity theft.
Defense #1 - Consent or Authorization
It can be helpful to show that you had consent or authorization from the other party to use their personal information. Whether you were acting on behalf of a business or simply helping a friend or family member, having documentation that proves you had permission to use someone else's information can help build a strong case in your favor.
Defense #2 - Lack of Fraudulent Intent
In defending against identity theft allegations, you can argue that you never intended to commit fraud. Any dishonesty or deception on your part is, at best, a misinterpretation of what happened. At worst, it was a complete accident on your part.
For example, you may have used someone else's credit card to make a purchase on their behalf, with their full knowledge and consent. This action technically violates credit card terms of service, but it does not necessarily constitute fraud if you did not benefit from the transaction.
Defense #3 - Improper Search
If police do not follow strict rules in an investigation, their entire case can be invalidated. This is the case when they conduct a search without a warrant or violate your Fourth Amendment rights in any way.
If the police conducted a search without a warrant, or if they obtained a warrant through an illegal search or wiretap, then any evidence obtained may be inadmissible in court. This can significantly weaken the case against you and make it more difficult for prosecutors to secure a conviction.
Defense #4 - Improper Police Procedure
Another potential defense against identity theft allegations is to argue that there was improper police procedure. This could include misconduct such as coercive interrogation tactics or evidence tampering.
Improper police procedure can also include errors in the investigative process, such as failure to follow up on important leads or collect relevant evidence. These mistakes can impact the prosecution's ability to establish a case against you. For example, if the police relied on circumstantial evidence or hearsay to support their case, you may be able to argue that they did not take sufficient steps to verify the facts or gather reliable information.
The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. can help defend you against identity theft allegations. If you’ve been accused, contact us today by calling (561) 475-2752 or filling out our online contact form.