Identity Theft Tools
CRS 18-5-903, 903.5, 905

Under Colorado law, the criminal possession of a financial device, identification documents, and identity theft tools is against the law. The penalties for these crimes vary based on the amount of illegally obtained material involved. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address the following topics:

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Under Colorado law, the criminal possession of a financial device, identification documents, and identity theft tools is against the law.

1. What is the criminal possession of a financial device?

An individual commits the crime of a criminal possession of a financial device if he or she obtains any financial device that he or she knows, or should have reasonably known, has been stolen, is lost, or delivered by mistake. 1

A “financial device” is defined as any instrument that represents a financial account that can be used to buy cash, good, property, services or financial payments. Examples of financial devices include credit cards, banking cards, debit cards, charge cards, and bank account numbers.

If you find a debit card that is the name of another person and you make a conscious decision to keep that card, you may be charged with the criminal possession of a financial device.

1.1. What are the penalties for the criminal possession of a financial device in Colorado?

Criminal possession of a financial device in Colorado could be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the number of financial devices a person has acquired illegally. The criminal possession of one financial device is a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to 18 months in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000. 2

The criminal possession of two or more financial devices is a much more serious crime. This offense is considered a class 6 felony. Upon a conviction, an offender can expect to pay up to $100,000 in fines and spend up to 18 months in prison. 3

If a person possesses four or more financial devices, of which at least two are linked to different account holders, he or she will be charged with a class 5 felony. This offense is punishable by a fine up to $100,000 and a maximum total of three years spent in prison. 4

2. What is the criminal possession of an identification document?

A person commits the criminal possession of an identification document if he or she obtains a document that discloses a person's identity.

Colorado statutes explicitly state the various types of identification documents a person can obtain and will be charged for in the event that they are found in his or her possession without permission or lawful authority. These identification documents include another person's authorized:

  • Driver's license,
  • Government-issued identification card,
  • Social security card, and
  • Passport 5

2.1. What are the penalties for the criminal possession of an identification document in Colorado?

Similarly to the penalties for the possession of a financial device, the penalties for the crime of unlawfully possessing an identification document is based on how many documents have been illegally obtained by a person who is not an account holder.

According to Colorado statutes, the criminal possession of one identification document issued to another person is a class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted for this crime, a person should expect to spend up to 18 months in jail and/or pay a fine up to $5,000. 6

The criminal possession of two or more identification documents, of which at least two are linked to different people is a class 6 felony. This offense carries penalties of up to 18 months spent in prison and a fine up to $100,000. 7

3. What is the possession of identity theft tools?

A person commits this crime when he or she possesses any tools, equipment, computer, computer network, scanner, printer, or other utensils adapted, designed, or commonly used to steal someone else's identity. 8

Therefore, if an individual intends to use these utensils to facilitate the commission of identity theft, or is aware that another person will intend to use these utensils to steal another person's identity, he or she will be charged with this offense.

3.1. What are the penalties for the possession of identity theft tools in Colorado?

The possession of identity theft tools in Colorado is a class 5 felony. This offense is punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. 9

4. Related Topics

4.1. Identity Theft C.R.S. 18-5-902

In Colorado, it is a criminal offense to use another person's personal or financial identifying information to obtain anything of value. This is known as identity theft. This includes using another person's identity to file a claim for workers' comp benefits. Identity theft is a class 4 felony in Colorado. Penalties for identity theft include 2 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

4.2. Unlawful Acts with a False ID C.R.S. 42-2-309

In Colorado, the possession of an altered or fake ID, or use of another person's identification is a class 3 misdemeanor under C.R.S. 42-2-309. The penalties for unlawful acts with a false ID include a fine and up to 6 months in jail.

Call us for help…

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If you have been arrested and charged for identity theft crimes, we encourage you to contact our Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our skilled Colorado defense attorneys have extensive experience handling clients who have been charged with these offenses. We are proud to say that we are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today by telephone or at our Denver Law office for a free consultation.


Legal References

  1. C. R. S. 18-5-903(1)
  2. C. R. S. 18-5-903(2)(a)
  3. C. R. S. 18-5-903(2)(b)
  4. C. R. S. 18-5-903(2)(c)
  5. C. R. S. 18-5-903.5(1)
  6. C. R. S. 18-5-903.5(2)(a)
  7. C. R. S. 18-5-903.5(2)(b)
  8. C. R. S. 18-5-905(1)
  9. C. R. S. 18-5-905(2)

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