Arkansas Identity Theft Laws
Arkansas has two primary laws that deal with identity theft, which is the unlawful use of someone’s personal identifying information to obtain a benefit. Identity theft is called identity fraud in Arkansas, though the terms are synonymous.
For more information about identity theft laws in general, read Identity Theft Law.
Financial Identity Fraud
Financial identity fraud occurs when anyone obtains, records, accesses, or submits another person’s identifying information in an attempt to open a credit card account, debit account, or obtain a financial resource without that person’s permission. Financial identity fraud also occurs when someone uses a scanning device or a re-encoder—a device that changes the information contained on a plastic card’s black magnetic strip—in an attempt to appropriate another person’s financial resources without that person’s authorization. Financial identity fraud is a Class C felony offense.
(Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-37-227(a))
Under the Arkansas identity theft law, a person’s identifying information includes any number or piece of information that can be used to access that person’s financial resources, such as a Social Security number, credit card account numbers, digital signature, or similar types of information.
Non-Financial Identity Fraud
It’s also a crime in Arkansas to use another person’s identifying information without his or her consent for any unlawful purpose. Anyone who, for example, uses someone’s personal information to avoid criminal prosecution, harass someone else, or to try to obtain anything of value commits the crime of non-financial identity fraud. Nonfinancial identity fraud is a Class D felony offense.
(Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-37-227(b))
Identity Fraud Against an Elderly or Disabled Victim
If someone commits the crime of either financial or non-financial identity fraud against an elderly or disabled person, that person faces tougher penalties. If the victim of a financial identity fraud is disabled or elderly, the crime is a Class B felony. If the victim of a nonfinancial elderly fraud is disabled or elderly, the crime is a Class C felony.
Someone convicted of an identity fraud crime in Arkansas faces significant potential penalties. The specific penalties a court imposes will differ depending on the specific crimes charged and the circumstances of the case.
For a more detailed explanation of Arkansas’s criminal sentencing laws, read Arkansas Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences, and Arkansas Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
- Incarceration. If you are convicted of a Class D felony in Arkansas, you face up to six years in the state prison. Someone convicted of a class C felony faces three to 10 years in prison, while someone convicted of a class B felony faces five to 20 years in prison.
- Fines. A Class D felony fine can be as high as $10,000, while Class C fines range between $5,000 and $25,000. The fine for a Class B felony can be as high as $15,000.
- Probation. A person convicted of identity fraud in Arkansas might also have to serve a probation sentence. Courts typically order probation instead of, or in addition to, other penalties. Someone on probation will have to comply with numerous probation conditions, such as reporting to a probation officer, asking the officer’s permission before leaving the state, finding or maintaining steady employment, and paying all fines, court costs, and restitution.
- Restitution. If the victim(s) of the identity fraud crime suffered a financial loss, a court will also order restitution. Restitution payments compensate victims for their losses, so the amount of restitution the court orders differs from case to case.
Find an Arkansas Defense Attorney Near You
Obtaining legal advice from an experienced defense attorney is absolutely necessary whenever you face a criminal charge in the state of Arkansas. Identity fraud is a felony offense, and even if you aren’t given a prison sentence, being convicted of a felony will affect you for the rest of your life. An experienced criminal defense lawyer who regularly represents people in local criminal courts is the only person who can give you solid legal advice and help you protect your rights at every stage of the criminal justice process.