Identity Theft Laws in California: What You Need to Know

In this digital age where information is currency, identity theft has emerged as a pervasive and insidious crime that can wreak havoc on individuals’ lives. The state of California, like many others, has recognized the pressing need to combat this ever-evolving threat and has enacted stringent laws to safeguard its residents from the clutches of identity thieves.

If you or someone you care about is grappling with an identity theft accusation in California, we can help. At Aron Law Firm, we provide our clients who have been charged with identity theft with adept legal advice. We conduct independent, thorough investigations into each case to build a strong defense for your unique situation and guide each client step by step through the legal process.

Understanding Identity Theft Crimes in California

Identity theft occurs when someone unlawfully obtains and uses another person’s personal information without consent. This information is typically utilized for fraudulent purposes and can include, but is not limited to, a person’s:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Bank account information
  • Credit card numbers
  • Passport number

In California, identity theft is primarily governed by California Penal Code Section 530.5 and can encompass a wide range of activities, from opening fraudulent bank accounts to making unauthorized purchases in someone else’s name.

Penalties for Identity Theft in California

Identity theft in California is typically charged as a felony, with penalties that can be severe. The specific penalties can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history. Penalties may include:

  • Imprisonment: Conviction for identity theft can result in imprisonment for up to three years for each count, and if multiple counts are involved, the sentences can be consecutive.
  • Fines: In addition to imprisonment, fines of up to $10,000 or more may be imposed, depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Restitution: Convicted individuals may be required to pay restitution to the victim to cover their financial losses resulting from the identity theft.
  • Probation: In some cases, the court may offer probation as an alternative to imprisonment, along with mandatory identity theft education programs.

Navigating identity theft charges in California can be complex, and the consequences of a conviction can be life-altering. Therefore, it is essential to consult an experienced California criminal defense lawyer who understands identity theft cases.

Potential Defenses Against Identity Theft Charges in California

If you are facing identity theft charges in California, there are a few defense strategies that may be available to you. Some common defenses include:

  • Lack of intent: If you did not have the intent to commit fraud when using the personal information, you may have a valid defense.
  • Consent: If you had the victim’s consent to use their personal information, it may be a valid defense.
  • Mistaken identity: In some cases, the prosecution may have mistaken your identity as the perpetrator.
  • Insufficient evidence: Challenging the prosecution’s evidence or proving they lack sufficient evidence to support the charges can be a viable defense strategy.

At Aron Law Firm, our team can assess your specific situation, provide qualified legal advice, and work tirelessly to build a strong defense on your behalf.

Hire an Experienced California Identity Theft Crimes Defense Attorney

Identity theft is a serious criminal offense in California, carrying significant penalties for those convicted. If you or someone you know is dealing with identity theft charges, reach out to a qualified criminal defense attorney with Aron Law Firm, who can provide guidance and advocate for your best interests throughout the legal process.

Call (805) 618-1768 or submit our contact form to schedule a meeting with an Aron Law Firm identity theft defense lawyer today.

William M. Aron


William M. Aron

November 28, 2023

Former Deputy District Attorney William Aron received his Juris Doctorate from the Duke School of Law and has amassed 20 years of experience practicing law. Attorney Aron dedicates his practice to defending the accused, and is devoted to keeping his clients out of prison.