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How the state of Maryland views felony identity theft

The crime of identity theft has been continually rising throughout the nation. The state of Maryland has not been immune from this increase and has also seen an increase in the number of identity theft crimes. To help combat this epidemic, the Maryland state government has enacted strict laws against it. So, here is a brief look at how the crime of identity theft is viewed in Maryland.

Current Maryland law expressly forbids any person from getting the personal identification information from another person without the consent of that individual. It is also a crime if one person helps another obtain the personal identification information for someone else. In addition, Maryland law prohibits one person from assuming the identity of another person to get benefits, goods or services that the other person is rightly entitled to receive.

The term "personal identification information" generally means important personal information, such as a name, address, social security number, employee number, bank account number or credit card number. These types of identification are important to an individual because they can help someone establish credit, buy a house or a car and get a job.

Identity theft in Maryland can be a felony crime or it can be a misdemeanor. The key is the value of the crime. Any identity theft crime with an established value of $500 or more is considered a felony. As a result, it is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. However, if the established value of the crime is less than $500, then it is considered a misdemeanor, and can result in a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $5000.

Because of the potential devastating nature of this type of crime, prosecutors vigorously go after anyone charged with identity theft. Nonetheless, any Maryland resident who is facing these kinds of charges may want to speak with a criminal defense attorney in order to discover what the potential consequences of a conviction might be.

Source: IACP.org, "Maryland identity theft ranking by state," accessed on April 23, 2016

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