Identity theft schemes might make for good stories on the nightly news, but it is important to remember that not all of those accused of identity theft are actually guilty of the crime. Individuals in New York need to understand what constitutes identity.

Under New York law, an individual commits first-degree identify theft when he or she knowingly and with the intention to defraud assumes the identity of an individual, acting as the other individual or by utilizing the other individual’s personal identifying information.

And, to commit first-degree identity theft, the individual needs to either obtain property, funds, services or use the credit of the other individual in an amount that goes above $2,000; or cause the other person to suffer a financial loss of over $2,000; or commit or tries to commit a class D felony or above, or acts as an accessory in such; or commit second-degree identity theft, and has within the past five years committed identity theft or certain other crimes.

First-degree identity theft in New York is a class D felony, so as you can see it is a very serious crime. However, it is important to remember that it is the prosecution’s burden to prove an individual committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, in order for the person to be convicted. Nevertheless, those accused of first-degree identity theft or other criminal charges may want to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney, who can examine the situation to determine what arguments to make in the accused’s favor.