Penalties For Committing Identity Theft

Penalties For Committing Identity Theft

Arizona has consistently been the state with the highest number of identity theft complaints registered with the Federal Trade Commission. Special task forces have been organized to arrest anyone suspected of stealing another person’s identity. Prosecutors are aggressively seeking convictions in identity theft cases.

The punishment for identity theft can result in a lengthy prison term, as well as community service, probation, and significant fines. Depending upon the circumstances of the identity theft, it may violate federal and/or state law. A person may be charged with identity theft in state or federal court.

Penalties for Identity Theft in Arizona

Under Arizona statutes, taking the identity of another person with the intent to use it for an unlawful purpose is a Class 4 felony with a 2 ½ year presumptive prison term.

Further, Arizona has established two additional identity theft offenses:

  • Aggravated Identity Theft: taking the identity of 5 or more persons (or entities), or by taking the identity of another person and causing economic loss of $3,000 or more. This offense is a Class 3 felony, with a 3.5-year presumptive prison term. R.S. § 13-2009.
  • Trafficking in the Identity of Another Person: a person traffics in the identity of another person by knowingly selling or transferring any personal identifying information without the victim’s consent, for any unlawful purpose or with an intent to cause a loss. This offense is a Class 2 felony, with a 5-year presumptive prison term. R.S. § 13-2010.

Penalties for Identity Theft in Federal Court

Federal sentences for identity theft could range from 5 to 30-years in federal prison. A fine may also be imposed and the defendant is required to surrender any personal property used, or was intended to be used, to commit the crime. Further, aggravated identity theft under the federal code requires a mandatory 2-year prison term be imposed on top of any other prison term imposed. At the discretion of the court, the 2-year term may be served concurrently with another prison sentence.

Note that it is not uncommon for identity theft charges to be brought in the federal criminal courts. Identity theft often involves the use of the Internet, which means the theft usually crosses state lines. Once alleged criminal activity crosses state lines, it could be charged as a federal crime.

Mitigating Factors

In some cases, mitigating factors exists that will allow for negotiation with the prosecutor for lesser charges. Mitigating factors may include drug or alcohol addiction, illegal immigration status, or psychological issues. In such cases, the state may choose to help the defendant instead of pursuing harsher punishment.

Hiring an attorney to mount a strong defense is critical to attaining the best outcome for your case.

To get the best defense it is imperative that you hire an attorney knowledgeable with identity theft cases.

If you have been accused of identity theft, we are prepared to defend your rights. Our attorneys will work hard to provide you with the best possible defense. There may be aspects of your case that can be challenged in court in the early stages, so it is essential that you contact us as soon as possible. For a case evaluation contact us via the web or call (480) 219-1366.


The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handles state criminal cases throughout Arizona and federal criminal cases throughout the United States, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.