Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime in Michigan, and the potential consequences of an identity theft conviction can have lasting negative effects on your personal and professional life. Personal identification is among the most sensitive information we own, and it is involved in nearly every facet of our lives, whether it is our driver’s license, social security, credit score, or other vital records. Given this, the Michigan legislature enacted a sperate act to protect against identity theft: The Identity Theft Protect Act of 2004. The Act is intricate and requires the expertise of a lawyer like me who can help you understand the targeted offenses and the potential consequences. The better you understand the law, the better position you will be to defend your case. If you have been accused or charged with identity theft, call me today to start fighting the charges.


Identity Theft Protection Act

It is illegal for a person to use or attempt to use the personal identifying information of another person with intent to defraud in order to obtain any of the following:

  • Credit
  • Goods
  • Services
  • Money
  • Property
  • Vital Records
  • Confidential Telephone Record
  • Medical Records
  • Employment

Note: In an age of never-ending emails, it is important to note that accessing someone else’s email or other means of communication with intent to commit identity theft is punishable by jail time and fines.

MCL 445.65


Identity theft, even for a first offense, is considered a felony that results in prison time and thousands in fines. The penalties only become more severe for subsequent or repeat offenses.

  • First Offense: Felony
    • Up to 5 years in prison
    • Fines of $25,000 at minimum
  • Subsequent Offense: Felony
    • Up to 15 years in prison
    • Fines up to $75,000

Identity theft is a felony, and the consequences of a felony conviction can have devastating effects on your life. If you are accused or charged with identity theft, you need to be aggressive early in the case to build a winning strategy. You also need an attorney who understands the law and the mitigating facts that can help you fight the charges against you.

Paying Back the Victim

Michigan’s restitution laws entitle the victim of identity theft to seek repayment from the defendant for any monetary losses resulting from the theft. This repayment is separate and above any statutory penalties that come with committing the crime. In many cases a person convicted of an identity theft crime will have to pay thousands in fines and subsequently thousands to a victim. It is important to understand the circumstances in which you may be compelled to pay restitution. If you have been accused or charged with an identity theft crime, contact me today to begin building a winning defense strategy.

ZAYID LAW’S Defense to Identity Theft Charges

Like with other larceny crimes, the primary focus is attacking the notion that you acted with criminal intent. I have had success arguing that my client’s did not act with the requisite intent to be charged with identity theft. While lack of intent is a viable defense, the Identity Theft Protect Act provides statutory defenses that can utilized to fight identity theft charges:

  1. That the person gave a bona fide gift for or for the benefit or control of, or use or consumption by, the person whose personal identifying information was used.
  2. That the person acted in otherwise lawful pursuit or enforcement of a person's legal rights, including an investigation of a crime or an audit, collection, investigation, or transfer of a debt, child or spousal support obligation, tax liability, claim, receivable, account, or interest in a receivable or account.
  3. That the action taken was authorized or required by state or federal law, rule, regulation, or court order or rule.
  4. That the person acted with the consent of the person whose personal identifying information was used, unless the person giving consent knows that the information will be used to commit an unlawful act.

MCL 445.65(2)(a)-(d)

These statutory defenses can be confusing, and it requires the expertise of an experienced attorney at ZAYID LAW to apply these defenses to the unique circumstances of your case. The sooner you call me, the sooner we can work through your case and how these defenses may lead to a dismissal or a reduction in your identity theft charges.