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Identity, Fraud, Deception

Defending Identity Deception Charges in Indiana

Identity deception is a serious offense in Indiana, and understanding the legal framework is essential for anyone facing such charges. This blog provides an overview of identity deception under Indiana law, discusses potential penalties, outlines common defenses, and summarizes relevant case law to illustrate instances where convictions were overturned due to insufficient evidence. If you or someone you know has been recently arrested or charged with identity deception, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. 

Understanding Identity Deception in Indiana 

Statutory Definition 

Under Indiana Code 35-43-5-3.5, identity deception occurs when a person, with intent to harm or defraud another person, knowingly or intentionally obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses identifying information to profess to be another person. This offense is categorized as a Level 6 felony, but it can be elevated to a Level 5 felony under certain circumstances. 

Aggravating Circumstances for a Level 5 Felony 

Exceptions 

Certain acts are exempt from being classified as identity deception: 

Penalties 

Common Defenses Against Identity Deception Charges 

Several defenses can be employed when contesting identity deception charges in Indiana. Some of the most common defenses include: 

  1. Lack of Intent to Harm or Defraud: The prosecution must prove that the defendant had the intent to harm or defraud another person. If this intent cannot be established, the charges may not support a conviction.
  2. Mistaken Identity: In cases where the defendant's identity is incorrectly attributed to the crime, demonstrating a case of mistaken identity can be a strong defense.
  3. Consent: If the identifying information was used with the consent of the person whose identity was used, this can serve as a valid defense.
  4. Absence of Identifying Information: If the information used does not qualify as "identifying information" under the law, the charges may be dismissed. 

Case Law: Insufficient Evidence Leading to Reversal of Convictions 

Reviewing case law where identity deception convictions were overturned due to insufficient evidence can provide insights into how such charges can be successfully contested. Below are summaries of relevant appellate court decisions: 

Case 1: Insufficient Evidence of Harm or Fraud 

Procedural Posture 

The defendant was convicted of identity deception after allegedly using another person's identifying information during a police encounter. The defendant appealed the conviction, arguing that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support the conviction. 

Overview 

The appellate court focused on the property crime nature of the statute and issues related to fraud. The court noted that identity deception, as classified under property crimes, inherently involves fraudulent intent. The State failed to establish that the information the defendant gave to the police coincided with a real person, which is crucial to prove the intent to harm or defraud. 

Outcome 

The conviction for identity deception was reversed due to insufficient evidence. 

Case 2: Validity of Evidence and Real Person Requirement 

Procedural Posture 

In this case, the defendant was convicted of identity deception after providing false identifying information to a police officer. The defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient and that the identifying information did not coincide with a real person. 

Overview 

The court held that the State provided sufficient evidence to support the conviction under the current statute, which no longer requires that the identifying information coincide with a real person. The unredacted arrest warrant for a prior charge was admitted to show the defendant’s motive, which was deemed relevant and not overly prejudicial. The court highlighted that the statute's amendments indicate the legislature's intent to encompass both genuine and fabricated information. 

Outcome 

The conviction was affirmed, emphasizing that the updated statute does not require the identifying information to coincide with a real person. 

Conclusion 

Facing identity deception charges in Indiana can be daunting, but understanding the legal landscape and potential defenses can significantly impact the outcome of a case. If you have been charged with identity deception, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who can help navigate the complexities of the law and build a strong defense. 

Summary

If you or someone you know is facing identity deception charges, contact Gibson Law Office today for a consultation and let our experienced attorneys provide the defense you need. Call us at 855-944-2766. 

Disclaimer: Laws change, and court of appeals cases can provide new interpretations. This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For current and case-specific advice, contact an attorney.