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Is it “identity theft” to use someone else’s ID card?
Penal Code 530.5 is the California statute on identity theft. While the law criminalizes various acts, people should know that using another person’s ID card is a separate offense. The offense is prohibited under Penal Code 13004.
1. How does California law define “identity theft”?
California Penal Code 530.5 PC makes it a crime to take another person’s personal identifying information and use it in any unlawful or fraudulent manner.1
California Vehicle Code 13004 VC prohibits the unlawful use of an identification card (such as possessing a fake ID or lending an ID to someone else).2
This offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $1000.00.
While many “kids” violate this offense by posing as friends who are over 21 so that they can gain entrance to bars/nightclubs, many people violate this offense for more serious reasons. These may include posing as another person to cash that person’s check, to avoid being arrested pursuant to a warrant, or to obtain other benefits that are due to another person.
A California criminal fraud defense attorney is of enormous value in these cases.
He/she knows the most effective ways to convince a prosecutor/judge to exercise leniency with his/her client. This type of lawyer can help persuade the prosecutor to charge a client with Vehicle Code 13004 VC California’s law against unlawful acts with identification cards rather than identity theft…a crime which could subject an offender to up years in the state prison.
Plea bargaining for less serious charges should never be overlooked in any case. This is especially true in an identity theft case where the lesser charge of Vehicle Code 13004 VC could be charged instead of the more severe offense. Please read our article about the penalties for identity theft in California.
California Penal Code 530.5 PC.
California Penal Code 13004 PC.
About the Author
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.