Identity theft is one of several computer or internet-related crimes in the state of California. If you are convicted of identity theft, you face penalties of fines, jail time, and reputational damage. As such, it is important that you rely on the skill and expertise of an experienced California criminal defense attorney.
On the rise in the digital age, identity theft is an increasingly common crime in California and elsewhere in the United States. In California, identity theft is governed by Penal Code 530.5 PC. Under the law, it is illegal to willfully obtain personal identifying information of another person for any unlawful purpose. As with any criminal statute, it is necessary to unpack every word. “Willful” is synonymous with words like “intentional” and “purposeful.” To act willfully, then, is to act with purpose. In other words, if you are prosecuted for identity theft, the prosecutor must prove that you intended to steal the identity of another person – that it did not occur by accident.
“Personal identifying information” is the next string of key language in the statute. It includes things like social security numbers, credit card information, driver’s license numbers, pin numbers, pass codes, answers to security questions, date of birth, phone number, address, and more. Basically, personal identifying information is the kind of information that allows one to verify his or her identify, make financial transactions, and travel by plane.