Analyzing Identity Theft Laws & Penalties in Maryland
In the digital age of the Internet, identity theft and other forms of white collar crime seem to be on the rise. Electronic communications and payment methods have opened the doors for many criminals to steal personal information for unlawful purposes. Accordingly, the State of Maryland has designed a series of laws against and penalties for identity theft crimes.
What are the Maryland Laws Against Identity Theft?
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 8-301 details the state-specific laws against identity theft. Under this section, it is unlawful to assume the identity of another person, even a fake person.
In exact terms, Maryland law prohibits any person from using another identity to:
- Evade identification, apprehension, or prosecution for a criminal offense;
- Obtain benefits, credits, goods, services, or other valuable things;
- Access health care information or records;
- Escape legal obligations, such as debts, liens, or judgments;
Section 8-301 also prohibits any person from:
- Acquiring personal information without legal authorization or consent;
- Disclosing identification numbers to harass or threaten;
- Using a re-encoder to obtain credit card or other financial information;
- Selling or transferring personal information; or
- Claiming to represent another person without legal authorization or consent.
What are the Maryland Penalties for Identity Theft?
The Maryland penalties for identity theft also appear under Section 8-301. From a general standpoint, identity theft is a misdemeanor offense. The standard penalty includes one year in prison and $500 in fines.
Maryland law also provides a value-based penalty structure for identity theft. With this approach, the level of punishment depends upon the value of the benefit, credit, good, service, health care records, or similar information subject to identity theft. For example, if the value is:
- Between $100 and $1,500 — Then identity theft is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of one year in prison and $500 in fines;
- Between $1,500 and $25,000 — Then identity theft is a felony with a maximum punishment of five years in prison and $10,000 in fines;
- Between $25,000 and $100,000 — Then identity theft is a felony with a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and $15,000 in fines; or
- More than $100,000 — Then identity theft is a felony with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Additionally, Section 8-301 provides for restitution of related costs for identity theft victims. Specifically, the Maryland courts may award reasonable costs related to identity theft, such as clearing or resolving:
- Credit history or ratings;
- Health care history or records; and
- Debts, liens, judgments, or similar obligations that arose because of the violation.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you need legal help with charges for identity theft or other forms of white collar crime in Maryland, it can be thoroughly valuable to reach out to a reliable criminal defense attorney. The Bel Air white collar crime attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in criminal and family law, including identity and other forms of white collar crime. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.