If you or a loved one find yourselves in a difficult situation, we understand the urgency and stress that comes with it. At Angels Bail Bonds, we specialize in providing the support and assistance needed to secure bail for identity theft charges.
Learn the basics about the bail process for felony identity theft charges, and then contact Angels Bail Bonds today. Let us be your trusted partner in navigating the bail process for felony identity theft charges. We are here to help you regain your freedom and prepare for your legal journey.
What is bail?
Bail in California refers to the amount of money or property that a defendant or their surety (a person responsible for the defendant’s appearance in court) must deposit with the court to secure the defendant’s release from custody while awaiting trial.
The purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant appears in court for all scheduled hearings and does not flee before the trial. A county bail schedule or table determines bail amounts, but a judge can deviate from the schedule based on various factors, including the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and whether the defendant is a flight risk. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail is forfeited, and a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
What are bail bonds?
When you find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford to pay for your bail, bail bonds might be the solution for you. A bail bondsman, who a bail bond company employs, will charge you a fee in exchange for providing the payment. Bail bond companies in California charge only 10% of the total bail amount to post-bond for a defendant. So, if the cost of bail is $20,000, the bondsman will charge $2,000 instead of the full amount. While this may still seem like a lot of money, it’s much more affordable than paying the entire bail amount, especially on extremely high bail amounts for some serious felonies.
Those rates can be as high as 20% for some immigration and federal charges because these rates are set by law, and all bail companies must charge the same amount. Despite the costs, using a bail bondsman can be a lifesaver for those who cannot afford to be released from custody on bail.
What happens at a bail hearing?
The amount of bail is normally set at the person’s initial court appearance, often known as the arraignment stage or pre-trial detention. A judge can either release a person on their own recognizance (OR) with a promise to appear in court at a later date or deny their OR.
If the charges are infraction offenses or even some misdemeanor offenses—such as a DUI with no accident injuries or significant property damage— the person will usually be released without bail after being arrested. More serious felony charges, like assault with a deadly weapon or even murder, will not have OR as an option and will only be released from custody on bail.
You must pay the bail amount or post a bail bond on the bail schedule. An arresting officer might ask for a higher bail amount than what the schedule suggests.
What Factors Influence a Defendant’s Bail Amount?
The bail bond process starts when a defendant is in front of a judge to determine bail. Then, several factors are put into play, including the severity of the crime, criminal history, whether the defendant is a flight risk, community ties, financial resources, their potential danger to public safety, and even mental health are considered when determining bail amount.
The bail schedule further gives guidance for all criminal charges, with the judge having some leeway in the specific amounts, as mentioned. And even if they’re allowed out on bail, the defendant might have to be placed under house arrest, be prohibited from owning any deadly weapons or placed under electronic monitoring.
Have you been charged with criminal Felony Identity Theft PC 530.5?
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense like felony identity theft, you or a loved one must contact the experts at Angels Bail Bonds immediately. Our team of bail bondsmen and criminal defense lawyers provide assistance during pre-trial detention at no extra cost, including nationwide.
What is Felony Identity Theft?
Under California Penal Code 530.5, the crime of identity theft is defined as the unlawful act of willfully obtaining and using someone else’s personal identifying information without their consent or under false pretenses for fraudulent purposes. This includes but is not limited to the fraudulent use of a person’s name, social security number, driver’s license number, credit card information, or any other identifying information.
The act of identity theft involves intentionally using another person’s personal information to commit various fraudulent activities such as obtaining credit, stealing real property, making purchases, accessing financial accounts, or opening new accounts in the victim’s name. It is a serious offense in California and is punishable by fines, prison time (years or months in jail,) or both, depending on the extent of the theft and the resulting harm to the victim of identity theft.
It is worth noting that many cases of identity theft are also charged as federal crimes, as many of the types of personal information documents involved are federal in nature or are used to commit federal crimes like wire fraud, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, and other offenses under the jurisdiction of federal government law enforcement.
Here’s the exact wording in California Penal Code 530.5:
(a) Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(c) (1) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, acquires or retains possession of the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
It is also illegal to have this information in your possession with intent to sell, transfer, or convey personal information to others, knowing it was unlawfully obtained and that it will be used with the intent to defraud:
(d) (1) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, sells, transfers, or conveys the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(2) Every person who, with actual knowledge that the personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of a specific person will be used to commit a violation of subdivision (a), sells, transfers, or conveys that same personal identifying information is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
What is stolen personal identifying information in this case?
These are the personal identity documents that are typically involved in cases of identity theft in California:
- Social Security Number (SSN): This is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Social Security Administration and is often used as a primary identifier for individuals. The victim can have their social security checks stolen or used for illegal purposes.
- Full Name: Identity thieves may use someone’s full name to impersonate them or open accounts in their name.
- Date of Birth (DOB): DOB is often used to verify a person’s identity and can be used by identity thieves to assume someone’s identity.
- Address: Personal address information can be used for various purposes, including opening fraudulent accounts or redirecting sensitive mail.
- Driver’s License Number: A driver’s license number is a common form of identification and can be used by identity thieves to commit various fraudulent activities.
- Passport Number: If an identity thief gains access to someone’s passport number, they can use it for illegal activities or to create fake identities.
- Financial Account Numbers: This includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and other financial account information that can be used for unauthorized transactions or to open new accounts, committing federal crimes like credit card fraud or bank fraud. Credit card companies must be contacted immediately to deactivate any accounts or cards linked to the stolen information. All the while, the victim is subjected to a poor credit report and flagged by credit bureaus.
- Personal Identification Numbers (PINs): PINs are often used to access various accounts, and identity thieves can obtain them through different means to gain unauthorized access.
- Email Address: Email addresses can be used to gain access to other accounts or for phishing attempts to gather more personal information.
- Phone Number: Identity thieves may use someone’s phone number to gain access to their accounts or use it for fraudulent activities.
- Online Login Credentials: Usernames, passwords, and security questions for various online accounts can be stolen and used to gain unauthorized access to personal information and accounts.
- Medical Information: Personal health information, including insurance details, can be used for insurance fraud or to obtain medical services in someone else’s name.
- Employment Information: Identity thieves may use someone’s employment information, such as employer name and job title, to impersonate them or for other fraudulent purposes.
- Tax Identification Numbers: This includes Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) that can be used to file fraudulent tax returns or claim false refunds.
- Biometric Data: Fingerprints, iris scans, or facial recognition data can be used for identity theft if compromised.
What is false personation?
While similar to identity theft, and many times charged together, the crime of false personation is defined under Penal Code 529 as the act of knowingly and willfully impersonating another person, either real or fictitious, for the purpose of deceiving or defrauding someone else or causing injury to that person or any other party.
Under PC 529, false personation can occur in various circumstances, including but not limited to:
- Impersonating another individual by using their name or personal identifying information without their consent.
- Pretending to be a representative of a government agency, such as a police officer, firefighter, or other public official, when one is not.
- Assuming the identity of another person to gain access to their personal records, financial accounts, or other confidential information.
- Falsely claiming to be a licensed professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, or contractor, in order to deceive or defraud others.
Types of Felony Identity Theft Charges in California
Criminal identity theft is a “wobbler” crime in California, meaning that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense by a prosecutor. The punishments typically range from probation to several years of jail time.
The circumstances of the crime will determine the severity of the punishment and how it’s charged, along with other factors like the defendant’s criminal record, the amount of loss incurred by the victim, the value of any real property stolen while using the information, if other crimes were involved in the case (like first-degree burglary, petty theft, or embezzlement of funds), and other factors.
Penalties in Felony Identity Theft Cases
The potential penalties for identity theft vary depending on how the crime is charged: misdemeanor or felony, with the main noticeable difference being the size of the prison sentence and fines involved.
If it’s a misdemeanor, the penalties are:
- Several months in county jail or up to a year of jail time.
- Maximun fines of $1,000
If charged as a felony, then you could be facing:
- Up to three years in state prison
- Maximum fines of $10,000
- Felony probation
There can also be enhanced penalties or additional penalties depending on each case, and it should be noted that each use of stolen personal information is a distinct violation, and the defendant can be charged and punished for each use, even when there is only one victim involved.
Average Bail for Felony Identity Theft
Felony Identity Theft in the California Penal Code is PC 530.5, and initial bail is set on the schedule at $20,000 to $50,000, although this varies throughout Southern California, with some, like Orange County, charging $20,000 for petty theft alone but less for embezzlement, for example.
You Need An Experienced Bail Bond Agent That Specializes In Felony Identity Theft Defense
The bail bond process for a felony identity theft charge is serious and without expert help at your side, as the standard bail for felony identity theft is $20,000 to $50,000. Nonetheless, a bail bond company and a criminal defense attorney can aid you during this difficult time and help you and your loved one obtain that money.
Legal Defense Against Felony Identity Theft
Among the possible legal defenses against identity theft charges in California could be mistaken identity. The defense may argue that the defendant was wrongly identified as the perpetrator and that there is insufficient evidence to prove their involvement in the crime. This common defense strategy may involve presenting alibi witnesses or providing evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt the defendant was not present at the location where the identity theft occurred.
A good felony identity theft defense attorney may also challenge the reliability of any eyewitness testimony or surveillance footage that implicates the defendant, raising doubts about the accuracy of the identification.
Another potential defense could be a lack of intent. The defense may argue that the defendant did not have the requisite intent to commit identity theft. This defense might involve presenting evidence that the defendant had no knowledge of the stolen identity or that they believed they were using their own information. For example, suppose the defendant can show that they were given permission to use the alleged victim’s personal information. In that case, it may weaken the prosecution’s case by suggesting a lack of criminal intent.
However, this defense strategy would require substantial evidence to support the defendant’s claim of innocence or lack of knowledge. This is why hiring the best legal representation right from the start of the bail process is essential.
Free Consultation & Case Review
Do you know someone who has been arrested for felony identity theft? Look no further because we are here to help. At Angel Bail Bonds, we work with experienced bail bondsmen and criminal defense attorneys to be your best option, even in cases where you need bail for theft or felony identity theft. We offer flexible payment plans and affordable rates to make the process more manageable for you and your loved ones. If you have any questions about how bail laws and the bail bond process work or if you need assistance helping a loved one in Los Angeles, San Diego, or anywhere else in Southern California, don’t hesitate to call us today.