Identity Theft has become a common charge in the age of credit cards. A person commits Identity Theft by using the credit card of another person, since they are falsely representing to the merchant that they are the true owner of the credit card. A person also commits this crime simply by using someone’s personal or financial identifying information without permission in order to gain something of value, such as cash, property, or services. Retaining a criminal lawyer is a good idea if you are charged with this crime.
A person does not actually have to use the information or transaction device (such as a credit card) in order to be guilty. Simply possessing the credit card or information without permission, along with the intent to use it will amount to guilt.
It is also considered Identity Theft in Colorado to fill out a form, or create a document, while falsely using the identity of another person.
In order to be guilty of Identity Theft, the offender must be seeking to use false information to obtain a “thing of value”. Merely providing false information is not sufficient for a conviction. For example, a Colorado case, People v. Beck, 187 P.3d 1125, held that the defendant had not committed Identity Theft when he merely provided a false name (someone else’s name) during a traffic stop.
Identity Theft is a class 4 felony, carrying a possible prison term of 2 to 6 years. The minimum 2 years becomes mandatory if it is a second conviction for Identity Theft, or if the defendant has a prior conviction for Criminal Possession of a Financial Device, Possession of an Identification Document, Gathering Identity Information by Deception, or Possession of Identity Theft Tools. A prior conviction for any of these offenses also entitles the judge to increase the maximum penalty for a conviction to twice the presumptive maximum sentence. In other words, the judge can increase the prison sentence from 6 to 12 years.