What happens if you get arested for identity theft? 34 Answers as of August 31, 2011

My girlfriend was arrested for identity theft for going to the hospital as her sister, and she cant remember doing that cause her mental illness causes her to forget things and act on impulse if she does not have medication. What will happen to her?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
She could possibly be charged with idendity theft depending on what occured, but from what you are saying she might very well have a very valid defense. If that happens, she needs to retain an experienced criminal attorney right away.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
I seem to recall this being a relatively new class "C" felony charge, however, the facts and potential defenses must be reviewed by her and her lawyer. Further, I would not recommend attempting an insanity defense, unless she is truly in need of custodial psychological help. The system is a sticky mess for the defendants. I have found that in almost every case, the defendant is better off just defending the case without alleging insanity. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/6/2011
Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
Your girlfriend should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss her case more thoroughly and in confidence. However, based upon the facts and circumstances you have described, your girlfriend may have available to her a pretrial diversionary program known as the Supervised Diversionary Program. This program is specifically designed for defendants who have mental health issues that contributed to their arrest. If the defendant is accepted into the program and successfully completes it, then he or she is entitled to have their case dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 5/6/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
The exact crime charged will determine what penalties are available to the Court. The prosecutor in the area where the charge is filed has the discretion to charge as they feel the evidence shows.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 5/6/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
In Oregon, if your girlfriend has no criminal history, she most likely would face a probationary sentence. However; the mental illness aspect of the situation may lead to a defense in her case. She really should consult with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/6/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    She will be prosecuted, possible jail and probation. I highly recommend hiring an attorney to represent her. Visit my website for more information.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    Identity Theft is a fairly complicated crime and the degree and penalty will depend on the circumstances However, It sounds like she may have a mental defense such as competency or diminished capacity. She should definitely seek legal counsel. Please note that this is not legal advice and does *not* create an attorney-client relationship. This post represents only the posters opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed only in the State of Washington. For more information about our law firm and services, please visit our website.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Her mental illness should be made known to the court, when she appears. This is a very complex issue, which will necessarily need to be backed up by evidence. You should hire an attorney to represent your sister, or ask for the services of the public defender. I would expect that your sister will not be doing any jail time, and at the worst will get some kind of probation or supervision. It is very important you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist your sister.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    I practice in Oregon. In that state, the identity theft statute criminalizes using the "personal ID" of another with the intent to defraud. So, generally, if your girlfriend went into the hospital intending to use her sister's insurance to receive medical care at no cost to her then she is committing ID Theft, since she is presumably using her sister's ID to gain a benefit. If, however, she is suffering from a mental disease or defect and that mental disease or defect makes it impossible for your girlfriend to conform her conduct to the requirements of the law or makes it impossible to form the intent to defraud, then she may be able to assert the defenses of "guilty except for insanity" or "partial responsibility." In Oregon, at least, this is what people mean when they refer to the "insanity defense." Partial responsibility is a complete defense, if a jury finds that it applies then your girlfriend is acquitted. A finding of Guilty Except for Insane results in a conviction but the person serves her time at a psychiatric hospital instead of a jail or prison.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The penalties for identity theft are based upon the age of the victim as well as the perceived value of the goods, services, or anything else of value received from the crime. In any event the potential penalties are very serious and can result in considerable jail time and fines. If you girlfriend has a documented diagnosis for some sort of mental illness this could present a possible defense but you will need to hire an attorney for her in order to make sure that it is properly presented to the court.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    From the information provided you would be talking about a charge for identity theft and a charge for fraud, if she used insurance or medicaid or medicare.These cases can be prosecuted by the United States Attorney (federal court) or by the Office of the Attorney General (State of Alabama). Normally, they are not prosecuted by the local district attorney.The penalties for these offenses can be severe, depending on the amount of money involved. The charges are always felony charges, and may carry a penalty of up to ten (10) years in prison.If the offenses are caused on account of her being drug affected, there could be special programs that are designed to assist the person committing the offense and for them to receive drug treatment at the same time.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    What happens on an identity theft case ultimately depends on the facts and circumstances involved which would include any defenses to the case such as the mental health issues you described in your question. Unfortunately, without more information, it wouldn't be prudent or helpful to you to try and speculate about the potential consequences without more information about the facts and about your girlfriend. The best thing for you and your girlfriend to do is to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to thoroughly evaluate all the circumstances involved in this matter. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    It is possible you sister may have a defense if she was not on her medicine and really did not know what she was doing. You should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Clearly a mental illness that is that extreme is a valid defense. It is possible that the case will not even be issued if these circumstances are brought to the DA's attention early. If the case has already issued, then an attorney needs to raise the defense and, if it can be proved, it should carry quite a bit of weight.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Identify Theft is a serious crime, any sentence will depend on her sister and if the hospital was out any money. Had to give advice without some more information.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Get an attorney. Bring in all papers on her condition. This should be a summery probation case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    The Boerst Law Office
    The Boerst Law Office | Bruce Boerst
    Not nearly enough information to give an accurate response. Please contact an attorney near you.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Eversole Law, LLC
    Eversole Law, LLC | Steven Eversole
    Identity theft in Alabama is a serious charge. I have listed the appropriate Alabama statute here: *Section 13A-8-192* Identity theft. (a) A person commits the crime of identity theft if, without the authorization, consent, or permission of the victim, and with the intent to defraud for his or her own benefit or the benefit of a third person, he or she does any of the following:
    (1) Obtains, records, or accesses identifying information that would assist in accessing financial resources, obtaining identification documents, or obtaining benefits of the victim.

    (2) Obtains goods or services through the use of identifying information of the victim.
    (3) Obtains identification documents in the victim's name.
    (b) Identity theft is a Class C felony. As you can see, in Alabama, Identity theft is a Class C Felony, which is punishable by up to a year in Jail and a $2000 fine for each offense. Anyone with two prior felonies could be facing the Habitual Offender Act.

    However, your question states that your girlfriend has a mental illness. This illness may can negate the "intent" factor necessary to commit identity theft. Thus, if she did not understand what she was doing, or was not in control of her actions, she likely has a good defense to the charge. I highly suggest you contact an experienced Alabama Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. If I can answer any other questions or help further, please feel free to give me a call at 205-981-2450. I have also included lots of pertinent and helpful information on my website and my Alabama Criminal Defense Blog.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    She could be charged with a felony and that is not a good thing at all. It would be best to hire a lawyer for her to handle this type of case or it could have bad repercussions later. Also, she may have a legitimate defense to the charges. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    She needs to get an attorney immediately to represent her in this criminal matter & if she cannot afford an attorney, an attorney from the Public Defender's office will be appointed by the court.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You didn't provide all the facts, or indicate if she has a prior record. I would urge you to help her retain a good criminal lawyer as soon as possible to explore her rights and options, including her right to a jury trial. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    Her mental illness might possibly be a defense to the charge, if it caused her to not understand the nature of her actions. The illness can also serve as a fact in mitigation. That is that it might be used to make any punishment lighter. She is facing fines, probation, and even possible jail time. You really gould try to find her a criminal law attorney to consult with.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Identity theft is taken seriously by the Court. But if your girlfriend has a documented mental illness, that can likely be a defense. I would recommend speaking to an attorney in more detail about the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Get her a lawyer or the Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    It depends on county and state. In some counties they have mental health court. If guilty, she would get a felony and get jail or probation, depending on her record.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If she did not do it with a criminal intent or to use the service for free then the DA will probably dismiss the charges. If she is mentally ill she can use that as a defense and will not likely be prosecuted. You should get her medical records to her attorney to use in her defense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    ID theft can cover a lot of conduct, but the courts have interpreted it as requiring intent to defraud. It's not clear if she is guilty on those facts. She might also have a defense relating to her mental illness. She needs to talk to a lawyer about it.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Mental health cases are among the most difficult to deal with in the criminal system. There are far to many variable to say what will happen, but if she is charged she needs to get a good lawyer who can advocated for her.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    The charge can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on what happened. Get a good lawyer. I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, what you describe is not identity theft. It is more likely to be charged out as a fraud case. Second, she may have a defense if her mental illness prevented her from forming the necessary intent to commit the crime.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Identity theft could be a felony charge, depending on the circumstances. The interrelated issues of competency of defenses based on mental irresponsibility are best handled by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    If charged with a felony, you potentially face one or more years in prison if convicted.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
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