Like many other states, Arizona has several laws that address identity theft crimes. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you could be charged with one or more of these crimes if you steal, or attempt to steal, someone else’s identity for your own purposes.
For more information about identity theft crimes, read The Crime of Identity Theft.
Taking or Accepting Another Person’s Identity
Anyone in Arizona who knowingly purchases, creates, records, takes, possesses, or uses anyone else’s personal identifying information without that person’s consent for any unlawful purpose commits the crime of taking the identity of another person.
Similarly, anyone who hires an employee knowing the employee used the personal identification of another person commits the crime of knowingly accepting the identity of another person.
Knowingly taking or accepting another person’s identity is a Class 4 felony offense in Arizona. (Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated section 13-2008)
Aggravated Taking of Another’s Identity
Taking someone else’s identity can also result in a more serious identity theft charge in Arizona if certain elements are present. The crime of aggravated taking identity of another person or entity occurs when someone knowingly takes someone else’s identity without that person’s intent and either:
- does so for the purposes of obtaining employment
- causes the victim to suffer an economic loss of $3,000 or more, or
- takes the identity of three or more people or entities.
The aggravated taking of another person or entity’s identity in Arizona is a Class 3 felony offense. (Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated section 13-2009)
It’s also a crime in Arizona to traffic in identifying information. Anyone who sells, transfers, or otherwise transmits someone else’s personal identifying information without that person’s consent for any unlawful purpose commits the crime of trafficking in the identity of another person or entity. This is a Class 2 felony offense in Arizona.
(Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated section 13-2010)
Committing an identity theft crime in Arizona is very serious. If you are convicted of this crime you face many years in a state prison and significant fines. Additionally, Arizona law allows for enhanced penalties if you have previously been convicted of other crimes, or if there are mitigating or aggravating factors present in your case. For a more detailed explanation of types of crimes and criminal penalties in Arizona, read Arizona Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences, and Arizona Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
- Incarceration. Incarceration sentence for identity theft convictions can differ significantly. For example, if you are convicted of trafficking in identifying information, a Class 2 felony, you face a prison sentence ranging from three to 35 years, depending on the circumstances of the case and your prior history.
- Fines. A court can sentence someone convicted of a felony in Arizona to pay a fine of up to $150,000.
- Probation. A court can also sentence someone to a probation term for an identity theft conviction. Probation can last up to seven years for a Class 2 felony, or up to five years for Class 3 felony. Someone on probation must pay all fines, restitution, as well as comply with probation conditions such as reporting to a probation officer and not leaving the state or the local area without the officer’s permission.
- Restitution. If the identity theft crime involved a victim losing money or suffering any kind of financial harm, an Arizona court will also order restitution. Unlike a fine, restitution payments are paid to the victims to compensate them for their losses.
Find a Lawyer
If you have any questions about Arizona’s identity theft laws or think you need legal advice, you need to contact a local Arizona defense attorney as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you have committed a crime, being charged with an identity theft offense is a very serious situation. Only an experienced attorney who has represented clients in Arizona criminal courts can evaluate your case and advise you about what you should do in your particular situation.