Alabama Identity Theft Laws
Alabama has several criminal laws that penalize different types of identity theft. Depending on the circumstances, anyone who commits identity theft in Alabama could face one or more of the following criminal charges.
In Alabama you commit identity theft when, with the intent to defraud and without the victim’s permission, you do any of the following:
- obtain, record, or access any type of identifying information that can help you access financial resources, obtain identifying documents, or obtain any kind of benefit
- use the victim’s identifying information to obtain goods or services
- obtain identifying documents in the victim’s name, or
- use the victim’s identifying information to obtain employment.
Anyone who commits identity theft in Alabama commits a Class B felony.
(Code of Alabama section 13A-8-192)
Trafficking in Stolen Identities
Alabama also makes it a crime to deal in stolen information, identifying documents, or identifying information with the purpose of committing identity theft. You commit this crime when you intend to or actually possess, sell, transfer, purchase, or manufacture any identifying documents without the authorization or consent of the victim. Trafficking in stolen identities is also a Class B felony.
(Code of Alabama section 13A-8-193)
Obstructing Justice Using a False Identity
If you use any fake identification, fictitious documentation, or other false identifying information to avoid a summons, arrest, criminal prosecution, or in any way impede a criminal investigation, you commit the crime of obstructing justice using a false identity. This crime is punishable as a Class C felony.
(Code of Alabama section 13A-8-194)
If you portray yourself as a business or organization and use e-mail, a website, or other Internet solicitation to ask others to submit identifying information, you commit the crime of phishing, a Class C felony.
(Code of Alabama section 13A-8-114)
If you assume a false identity to fraudulently gain an economic benefit, or pretend to represent an organization or an individual in order to fraudulently gain an economic benefit, you commit the crime of criminal impersonation in Alabama. This crime is a Class B misdemeanor.
(Code of Alabama section 13A-9-18)
Each class of crime in Alabama has its own penalties associated with it. Alabama also has sentencing laws that impose higher penalties against those who have committed prior crimes. For more information about felony and misdemeanor sentencing in Alabama, read Alabama Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences, and Alabama Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
- Jail or prison. If you are convicted of identity theft in Alabama you face significant jail or prison time. If you are convicted of a Class B felony, for example, you face no less than two years and no more than 20 years in prison for a first time offense. On the other hand, if you are convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, you face no more than six months in jail.
- Fines. Identity theft convictions also bring hefty potential fines. A conviction for a Class B felony can lead to $30,000 in fines, while a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by no more than $3,000 in fines.
- Restitution. If you are convicted of identity theft in Alabama, a court will order you to pay restitution for any financial loss the victim(s) suffered. The court can also sentence you to pay restitution to anyone else who might have suffered a loss because of the identity theft, such as a financial institution. Also, you will have to pay $25 per day, plus medical expenses, for any time you spend in a county jail or state prison. (Code of Alabama 13A-8-195)
- Probation. If you receive a prison sentence of 15 years or less, an Alabama court can choose to impose a probation sentence instead of requiring you to serve prison or jail time. Probation usually last a year or more, during which time you will have to comply with specific conditions, such as remaining within a specific location, allowing a probation officer to visit your home, meeting regularly with a probation officer, and finding and maintaining suitable employment. You will also have to pay any fines or restitution as a condition of probation.
Speak to a Lawyer
If you’re facing an identity theft charge in Alabama, you need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. An attorney who has experience negotiating with area prosecutors and who is familiar with local judges is the only person who can give you reliable legal advice. If you make any decision about your case without first speaking to an attorney near you, you could damage your chances of successfully defending your rights during the criminal justice process.