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North Carolina Criminal Law 14-113.20: Felony Identity Theft

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Felony Identity Theft The crime of Identity Theft under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-113.20 is a felony criminal offense characterized by the fraudulent use of another person’s identifying information to make financial purchases, obtaining something valuable or avoiding legal consequences.

To prove a defendant committed the crime of Identity Theft, the State must establish each and every one the following prima facie elements of the crime Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:

  1. The Defendant obtained, possessed, or used another person’s “identifying information”
  2. The Defendant intended to use the other person’s information to fraudulently present themselves as that person
  3. The Defendant did so for the purpose of making financial transactions, obtaining something of value, or avoiding legal consequences

“Identifying information” is defined by statute as social security numbers, employer tax identification numbers, drivers license/ID/passport numbers, checking or savings account information, credit/debit card information, personal identification codes (PIN), electronic identification numbers, email names or addresses, internet account numbers or identification names, digital signatures, biometric data, fingerprints, passwords, parent’s legal surname before marriage, or any other information that can access another person’s financial assets.

“Intent” is often inferred based on the actions and conduct of the Defendant.

It is important to note that for purposes of this offense, the victim can be living or deceased.

2. Examples of Identity Theft

Defendant gives a police officer another person’s name, date of birth, and address when being questioned about a crime. The police officer uses that information to obtain a SSN and Driver’s license number to use on a warrant. Shortly thereafter, the other person is arrested for the crime the defendant was being questioned about. The defendant may be charged with Identity Theft, a Class F Felony in this case since the victim suffered an arrest.

The defendant uses another person’s credit card without permission and pretends to be that person in order for the purchase to be successful. The defendant may be charged with Identity Theft, a Class G Felony offense.

The Defendant uses another person’s information in order to open a new credit card at a department store and makes numerous purchases with that credit card. The defendant may be charged with Identity Theft, a Class G Felony offense.

The defendant is searched and police locate four fake identification cards in the defendant’s wallet. Each ID contains another person’s identifying information and has the defendant’s picture on it. In this case, the defendant may be charged with Identity Theft and it would be considered a Class F Felony.

3. Related Offenses

Other related crimes offenses include:

  1. What does it mean to be “Indicted?”
  2. NC Criminal Law FAQs
  3. How are Bond Hearings set in Charlotte, NC?
  4. What happens if they don’t give Miranda Rights?
  5. What happens after an arrest for criminal charges?
4. Defenses to Identity Theft

A Defendant can challenge the crime of Identity Theft with the following defenses: Lack of intent to use information for fraudulent purposes, Entrapment, Mistaken identity, or if you are actually the victim of identity theft and not the perpetrator.

5. Penalties

Felony Identity Theft Under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-113.22: Identity Theft is a Class G Felony, allowing for a maximum period of incarceration of up to 47 months.

However, this offense can be punished as a Class F Felony if the victim is arrested, detained, or convicted of a criminal offense as a result of this offense, or if the defendant has in their possession “identifying information” for three or more other people.

A class F Felony is punishable by up to 59 months of incarceration.

The Felony Punishment Chart for Class F Felonies in North Carolina authorize “I/A” dispositions, depending upon the appropriate Prior Record Level.

A = Active Punishment – Prison
I = Intermediate Punishment

Intermediate Punishments may include things like:

  1. Supervised Probation
  2. “Split Sentence” Special Period of Incarceration/Imprisonment
  3. Community Service and Fees for Community Service
  4. Costs of Court
  5. Fines
  6. Restitution
  7. Civil judgment for damages

For PRL – Prior Record Levels IV, V, and VI, active prison time is established for a Class F Felony in North Carolina.

6. Criminal Defense for Identity Theft Cases - Powers Law Firm PA

If you have been charged or arrested for Identity Theft, it is important for you to contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Identity Theft charges can carry severe consequences, in the court system and in the community.

Our attorneys can provide you with legal advice on how to challenge the elements of Identity Theft, and guide you through the process.

The Powers Law Firm PA provides free, confidential consultations for criminal charges in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Gaston County, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Catawba County, Union County, Rowan County, and Stanly County, North Carolina.

If charged with a felony, we recommend you immediately seek the advice from attorneys who handle criminal charges in Charlotte NC.

Exercise your right to remain silent. Ask to speak with an attorney.

CALL NOW: 704-342-4357 to schedule your free office visit/consultation.

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