Identity theft who a serious crime

Identity theft refers to using someone else’s personal identifying information in order to commit fraud or receive some type of benefit, usually monetary in nature. Personal identifying information includes a person’s name, checking account number, routing number, credit card number or social security number, to name a few. Identity theft only occurs when someone does not give his or her consent to use such information. If a person gives his or her credit card to someone else and permission to use it, this likely will not result in identity theft because consent was rendered. However, there may be other charges or claims through this conduct. Identity theft requires the person perpetrating the crime to have the intent to commit fraud or some other crime.

Instances of Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that more than 9 million Americans have their identities stolen every year. The victims may not even be aware that they have been victimized in this nature until months or years later, after which time their credit can be ruined and their reputation may be damaged.

Crimes Perpetrated through Identity Theft

Individuals commit a variety of crimes by stealing other people’s identifying information. These crimes may include leasing an apartment or house by using someone else’s credit information. An identity may be stolen in order to acquire a credit card in someone else’s name. Utilities may even be furnished by using someone else’s name and identifying information.

When Identity Theft Occurs

Identify theft starts when an identity thief acquires personal identifying information, like a social security number or credit card number. In some cases, the victim may be alive. In other cases, a deceased person’s identity is taken. Still other cases revolve around the theft of a minor’s information. Whether the victim is a minor, dead or alive does not typically change the criminal nature of the conduct.

Ways Identity Theft Are Committed

Identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal the identity of others. The most traditional method is to steal something that belongs to the victim. This may be committed when a thief goes into a home while the victim is at work. He or she may rifle through papers until he or she finds something with identifying information such as a driver’s license number or social security number. Someone’s purse or wallet may be stolen. Someone may look through thrown away trash to find private information about someone. He or she may steal checks out of a person’s mailbox. Skimming is the process of using a special device when scanning another person’s card. A person may provide his or her card to wait staff or a store clerk who then gets this information for criminal purposes.

Technological ways also help identity thieves. A thief may send spam to try to get the person to provide their personal information through a phishing scheme. An identity thief may also use false pretenses in order to get the person to reveal personal information, such as pretending to be part of the victim’s bank, credit card company or other account. After an identity thief gets a credit card or other benefit on behalf of the victim, he or she may then change the victim’s address so communications regarding the account go somewhere else.

White collar crimes

However, in some cases, individuals may ignorantly comply with the requests of an undercover agent in a way that they would not without the involvement and encouragement of law enforcement. A common defense to an allegation of a white collar crime is that of entrapment.

Entrapment Definition

Entrapment occurs when officers or other government agents induce another person through their actions to commit a crime that had not been contemplated by that person in an attempt to eventually prosecute the person for the offense.

Elements of Entrapment

Although the prosecution has the duty to establish that the criminal defendant committed each element of the crime, entrapment is considered an affirmative defense. It does not prevent the prosecution from bringing forth the charges against the defendant. A defendant who alleges entrapment must prove a number of things, including that the government agent approached the defendant and was the one who introduced the idea of the crime. Additionally, the defendant must establish that he or she was not willing to commit the crime and only did so because the law enforcement agent acted in a coercive or otherwise improper manner.

Objective or Subjective Standard

The defendant often has a heightened burden to show that law enforcement’s actions would have induced any other law-abiding citizen to commit the crime or that the defendant lacked the predisposition to commit the crime. The standard which applies depends on whether the state uses an objective or subjective standard according to its own state law.
In an objective standard state, the defendant has to show that the actions of law enforcement would have caused any law-abiding citizen to commit a crime. With this standard, the emphasis of the case is on the law enforcement agent’s conduct and how it was extreme in nature.

In states that use a subjective standard, the question is whether the defendant had a predisposition to commit the crime in question or not. This is considered regardless of police actions. This standard focuses more on the defendant. Ultimately, the jury is tasked with determining whether the police officer’s conduct solely motivated the defendant or if his or her own predisposition was what drove the commission of the crime even if police actions were extreme or inappropriate.

Burden of Proof

In a criminal case, the prosecution has the burden of proving the elements by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has the burden of showing entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not the way that the defendant alleges. Even if the defendant can establish entrapment, the defendant may not be entitled to a finding of not guilty. For example, in states that use the subjective standard, the jury must then determine whether the defendant committed the crime due to his or her own predisposition rather than because of police actions.

Subject to an additional penalty

If a person uses a weapon while committing another crime, he or she may be placing the health and safety of other individuals at risk. Due to this, a crime that is committed with a weapon often incurs severe penalties for the person accused of the crime.

Sentence Enhancements

A person who uses a weapon during the commission of another crime may find that he or she is subject to a sentence enhancement. Such an enhancement has the effect of adding time onto a person’s original sentence. Weapons may be used to help facilitate a variety of crimes, including sex crimes, kidnapping, assault, battery, burglary, drug crimes, robbery and burglary. When these crimes are committed with the help of a weapon, the individual may receive one sentence based on the crime itself and additional punishment based on the presence of a weapon. For example, if a person robbed a bank while in possession of a handgun, having the gun at the time of the crime will likely have a serious effect on the person’s sentence in comparison to if the person did not have the weapon at the time of committing the crime.

For a sentence enhancement to apply, it is not always necessary that a person use the weapon during the crime. For example, he or she may have simply shown the weapon in order to make the victim comply or to make him or her afraid.

Weapon Charges

There are a variety of weapon charges that a person may commit besides receiving an enhanced penalty by using the weapon in conjunction with a crime. Weapons are heavily regulated by federal and state laws, especially guns. A person may be charged with a separate criminal charge for being a felon in possession of a gun. Failing to register a gun may be another possible crime that stands alone by itself.

Failing to register a weapon may be another type of crime that a criminal defendant is found to have committed. Selling drugs while carrying a gun can be a stand-alone offense.

Many states allow concealing a weapon so a person may be penalized if he or she has a concealed weapon. The state may have a specific license or permit that can be acquired to carry a weapon in such a nature, but if the person does not follow this protocol, he or she may be in troubled legal waters if he or she is found to have not followed these rules.

Deadly Weapon

One of the most common criminal charges related to weapon use or possession is assault by a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon can often be more than just the obvious types of weapons that criminals use, such as a gun or knife. It may be defined under state law as any object that could inflict serious bodily harm or death. Based on this broader definition, a deadly weapon may include a hammer, frying pan or sword.

Effect of Sentence Enhancement

Having a firearm or other weapon during the time another crime is committed can cause significant consequences. A criminal defendant may be subject to stricter penalties when a weapon is involved in the crime. In some cases, a weapon enhancement may double the amount of time that a person is sentenced to.

Legal Assistance

It is critical when facing a weapon enhancement to consult with a qualified lawyer who can carefully evaluate the circumstances surrounding the case and the potential punishments that are on the line. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer may evaluate the case for possible procedural errors or police misconduct that may influence the case or the evidence that is admitted.

A criminal defense lawyer can explain the defendant’s rights to him or her so that he or she can make an informed decision about the case. A lawyer can explain whether illegal search or seizure was involved in the case, which may provide grounds to have evidence thrown out of the case. A criminal defense lawyer can evaluate possible options related to defenses for a weapon-related offense, such as showing that the weapon did not belong to the defendant or that the defendant was not aware of its proximity.

Involves some type of fraud or deception

Sociologist and criminology expert Edwin Sutherland first coined this term in a speech that he delivered in 1939. According to Sutherland, someone is more likely to commit a crime when he or she is surrounded by criminal behavior as observed by those around him or her. Sutherland’s belief is that white collar criminals should not be punished as harshly as other criminals. He based this belief on the notion that white collar criminals are typically considered less dangerous. They are believed to be less likely of recidivism. For these reasons, he lobbied for more lenient sentences for individuals convicted of these types of crimes.

Modern Definition

Today’s definition includes the traditional definition that incorporates crimes committed by business professionals through their chosen profession. White collar crimes also include fraud and embezzlement. They may include such crimes as wire fraud, mail fraud, insurance fraud, bankruptcy fraud, money laundering and bribery.

Characteristics of White Collar Criminals

This crime is dubbed as white collar due to the professional standing of the perpetrator. These individuals often have a respected position in the community, such as a money manager, financial planner, banker, accountant or similar field.
They often occupy a place of higher socioeconomic status than many criminal defendants. Due to this characteristic, these types of criminals often have the ability to pay more for their defense, which often results in greater outcomes for these defendants than for others who have to rely on overworked public defenders. Having a higher salary and income level often translates into being able to hire the best and most expensive lawyers who will zealously fight for their interests in court. In contrast, individuals who are part of a lower socioeconomic level may not be able to afford a private lawyer and may be appointed a lawyer.

Effects of White Collar Crimes

While white collar crimes may not result in the same type of physical injuries as other crimes may, they may still result in significant consequences. If the money cannot be recovered, a business may go out of business. Employees may be terminated to make up for the loss of business funds. Individuals may lose their life savings because the retirement funds that they had invested were tied up in a Ponzi scheme unbeknownst to them.

Potential Punishments

Many people believe that white collar crimes should not be punished as harshly as crimes committed by people that involve violence like burglary, mugging or robbery. However, as discussed above, the effects of white collar crimes are real and can be devastating in nature. This means that when white collar criminals are convicted that they often receive sentences as long as the sentences that violent offenders receive. Many drug crimes are prosecuted by federal prosecutors and so are many white collar crimes.

However, one significant difference that may exist between the punishments that white collar criminals receive and others receive is that the white collar criminal may be locked up in minimum-security prisons. In these prisons, criminals may have greater freedoms like access to cable television, the internet and the outside. Criminals in maximum security prisons are often subject to less safe prison environments.

A person’s status in the community and prior criminal record are often considered at sentencing, which may provide a basis to give a white collar criminal less time than a hardened criminal.

Legal Assistance

Individuals who are charged with white collar crimes may decide to contact a criminal defense lawyer experienced in this area of the law. He or she may be able to explain the defendant’s rights to him or her and get involved in the process well before any formal charges are filed. This may allow a criminal defense lawyer to negotiate an agreement with the prosecutor that may prevent charges from ever being filed, such as allowing the defendant to pay restitution to the victims. The punishments that a white collar criminal defendant can face are substantial. Federal prosecutors are often intimidating. A criminal defense lawyer can help protect the defendant’s rights.

Federal Drug Penalties

This shifting may become necessary as other crimes become more important than simple drug charges. Because these penalties are at the federal level, it takes time to process and change laws based on these proposed acts.

The fact that the prisons across the country are full of non-violent lawbreakers dealing in or with drugs has prompted many lawyers and political advocates to lobby those in power with changes to provide assistance to these individuals. There are additional factors that should be taken into account as well, such as the type of crime and how it may or may not contribute to further criminal acts. The first offender stipulation may also reduce penalties with the assistance of legal counsel. However, differing crimes may provide for reduced sentences and punishments if these proposed acts become laws. With the retrograde stipulation, those already in prison or jail from the point the acts were proposed may be let out earlier than expected.

Holder Amendment

Some amendments have provided for harsher penalties based on who did what in the crimes charged against multiple defending parties. The Holder Amendment was created for when someone is a courier of illicit substances, but he or she did not participate in any violent acts. Other stipulations to take into account are whether the courier carried a certain amount of drugs, weapons or other items that may incriminate him or her more. Because of these changes, the mandatory sentencing of five to ten years behind bars has been eliminated. The federal district judge that oversees these cases may, at his or her discretion, issue a probationary term of time as an alternate punishment. This provides for many allowances when the person has not caused any injury or damage during his or her actions when involving drugs.

Sweeping Two Point Reduction

November of 2014 saw the reduction of the guideline calculations for most of the more severe drug violations by the Federal United States Sentencing Commission. Two levels of these guidelines were reduced regarding these crimes when a person has been convicted. This means that when someone has been convicted with shipping or moving some types of drugs, he or she may see a reduction in the sentences issued for the charges. This may also show in a lesser amount of years by as many as three or more from the mandatory sentencing. This amendment has provided these allowances during convictions with only drug charges. If another crime has been committed, the penalties may be just as harsh as they were before the amendment was applied.

Take Prescription Drugs without a Prescription

Other persons acquire these same drugs illegally from someone selling them even when that person should be taking them per his or her doctor. Many of these instances may cause medical issues due to incorrect dosage, body or chemistry difficulties or other similar problems. The person that gave or sold these drugs may be responsible legally for these complications.

While a person may face legal issues when possessing drugs without a prescription, there are others that obtain these same drugs through crimes involving some type of fraud. These may be through online purchases, the use of someone else’s identity or other situations. While many of these acts of lawbreaking result in misdemeanor charges, a person may face a felony charge depending upon the factors of the case. Though some consequences of these actions may be penalties through fines, jail or prison terms and other similar punishments, the possibility of making plenty of money through these drugs keeps these individuals in business.

Types of Drug Fraud Crimes

Among the most popular of drug crimes, there are two types of fraud crime categories that head the entirety of these unlawful acts. Uttering a Prescription of a Controlled Substance and Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud have been defined for better explanations. While these crimes are separate and have different explanations, they have been charged together in certain circumstances. Although these particular stated laws are from Florida, many other states have similar laws with very close wording that provide the same stipulations involving illegal substances.

Uttering a Prescription of a Controlled Substance is the intentional delivering, reproducing or giving counterfeit-resistant drug blanks for prescription drugs under the Department of Health’s ruling on this specific crime. For charges of this crime, the person perpetrating these acts usually uses the prescription pad of a healthcare professional and a signature forged from the same doctor.

Elements of Uttering a Prescription of a Controlled Substance and Similar Regulations

There are three elements that must be proven by the state these crimes are committed in to provide for a conviction based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The alleged perpetrator must have sold, distributed, created, uttered or had possession of counterfeit prescription blanks for prescription drugs. These blanks must also be in the form and content as provided by the Department of Health specific to the state. Additionally, the person must have had the intention to cheat, trick, harm or enable someone to purchase these drugs through a fraudulent manner as explained by state laws.

Penalties for Uttering a Prescription of a Controlled Substance

This category of crimes often carries a third-degree felony charge with potential for imprisonment of up to five years and up to $5,000 in fines. First offenses may carry this or lesser consequences, but those that commit these acts and are convicted multiple times may have the charges elevated to more serious felony charges.

The question of legality has risen at different points in time

Before the laws created regulations for these machines, many individuals have used them to ensure the avoidance of tickets and law enforcement for a variety of reasons. Some of these detectors may have monitors in place to record speeds of the vehicle they are installed in or may provide information on where and how far a police squad car is. Some incidents have resulted in these machines being used against the drivers as evidence.

For those situations when the driver has committed a traffic violation, radar detectors may be used as evidence in a court case. When laws and regulations are unknown, it is essential to obtain a lawyer for all relevant information. Some states only allow specific devices for use in the vehicle, and others do not allow any of these detectors at all. It is vital to know what law is present in the state the driver is traveling through. When the legal devices are used in those states that allow them, they often assist in avoiding traffic tickets and citations. It is important to ensure only the right one is installed to prevent legal entanglements.

Some Radar Detectors are Legal

The most important point in having a radar detector installed is when the driver has been stopped by law enforcement. If the device is legal, then there should be no issues after all questions have been answered. However, if the machine is not legal, the officer may use this detector as a means of arrest or involve further legal entanglement. The Light Detection and Ranging radar detector or LIDAR is usually the only device permitted by law. Some states do not allow these in commercial or big rig trucks and vehicles with weight limitations of over 10,000 pounds for these specific transporting machines.

For some states, these detectors are legal and permitted even by law enforcement. There is speculation about the ability to speed with the notice these machines allow when someone is driving, but if the drivers are safe even when speeding they usually are not reported even by other drivers. Some arguments are for these devices due to the inaccurate reads some police radars give when monitoring traffic. Despite the pro and con for and against these radars, they are permitted in passenger vehicles in some states provided that only the legally purchased and allowed devices are installed.

Why are Some Police Radars Inaccurate?

When defending against a ticket or traffic violation due to speeding, it has been found that some of the radars used by law enforcement have inaccurate reads depending upon certain factors. Some of these common reasons have been discovered. Nearby signals in the air have caused interference with these radars and they cause inaccurate numbers to appear to police. When the laser devices are not properly angled and pointed, a faulty read often appears. For some law enforcement officers, training may have been inadequate or rushed with may lead to issues with a moving target. When the devices are not maintained properly, they may break down just like any other electronic object.

Other Avoidance Techniques against Police May be Illegal

Jammers against laser devices and radars inside a consumer automobile have been listed as illegal in most states. These machines interfere with the signal and are not permitted by law. When they are used, severe and harsh penalties are often the outcome. Some versions of coatings upon the vehicle have been listed as illegal as they cause a type of stealth that allows avoidance from laser systems. The coating used often alters the accuracy of police devices.

A Pregnant Person Legally

However, in some instances, when a woman finds out she is pregnant, she may attempt to eliminate an addiction problem from her life. The life growing inside her body often becomes more important than the next fix. However, the options available to remove this obstacle are often few. Additional assistance may become a necessary part of these women’s lives.

Changing a person’s life is not an easy thing. When few options are available, a pregnant woman may find possibilities blocked. After determining to rid addiction to the drug she is compelled to consume, a woman awaiting a child may seek governmental help. There are clinics available in major cities as well as some in smaller areas. By seeking these out, the person may find the way to eliminate drugs from her life. Unfortunately, the option to take methadone for assistance with addiction issues may become a legal matter. Because the substance of methadone is still considered a drug with possible withdrawal symptoms in newborn children, the issue of consuming this substance may become a legal battle for the mother or the clinic that provides it.

Seeking Sobriety

When a pregnant woman faces the future with a child on the way, she may find limited opportunities in improving her life. Various healthcare facilities have assistance programs for these individuals due to the lack of necessary help provided to pregnant females. Many physicians recommend a treatment of methadone for recovery from drugs for these persons when they are able to see a doctor.

Sobriety from drugs is the recommended process going ahead for a woman expecting a child due to the presence of harmful chemicals from drugs in the system when an expecting mother keeps taking these illicit substances. These drugs pose a great risk to the unborn child along with potential complications. Unfortunately, a methadone treatment is often the only choice these individuals have available when attempting to remove the addiction to a drug they’ve been consuming. Though the newborn may have withdrawal from the methadone administered, this use often poses a far less danger than if other narcotics have been exposed to the baby.

Potential Legal Issues with Methadone

Due to the problem with withdrawal in newborn babies, some states have filed charges of abuse and neglect against the mother taking methadone. The Division of Child Protection in these states have stated that babies suffering from withdrawal symptoms due to the use of drugs in the mother, even if it is methadone, constitute this as child abuse and the neglectful actions to ensure the health and wellbeing of the child. Suits against these mothers have started in various states due to these charges.

To obtain a definitive understanding and ruling in these matters, one state’s Superior Court and Appellate Court was given the case to deliberate upon. The New Jersey Supreme Court, for the case in New Jersey, ruled that the mother did not commit child abuse and reversed the validation of the lower court in these matters. The state supreme court explained that a mother has the choice to follow the advice and recommendation of a healthcare professional for methods she may participate in that assist in treatment for drugs. The choice to minimize the risk to the baby is in the hands of the mother, and any drugs or prescriptions she is given to eliminate narcotics and harmful substances are hers to make.

A Woman’s Choice

While some state courts have ruled that the use of methadone to help combat drug addiction is the mother’s choice, not all states have yet deliberated on this issue, leaving the question open regarding the legality of the drug. Many states in the United States have not attempted to bring charges against women with unborn children that take methadone as a treatment option. So, the decision is often left to the expecting mother on whether this option is best for the baby and mother
.

Crime of Human Trafficking

However, there are some means of enslaving others still occurring that are often even more brutal than the original circumstances. Human trafficking has been an issue in various locations around the world. Even in cities thought to be safe, these crimes have been arising in secret. Since law enforcement has been cracking down on these actions, the fact of human trafficking has come to light for those unaware that a form of slavery is still in existence.

As each year passes, thousands of individuals and groups are forcibly or through devious means taken and forced into various types of labor. The issue affects the entire world, as tourist cities, business locations, remote places and residential areas alike are targeted. Though men are abducted for hard labor, this growing concern mainly involves women and children. They are in many situations forced into working for nothing, sexual situations and various forms of relationships. Some children are kidnapped to be sold for their purity or innocence. In these cases, the victim is often harmed before he or she may be liberated.

Human Trafficking Explained

The illegal abduction of a person for the use in trade involving sexual slavery, reproductive means and any type of forced labor has been deemed human trafficking. It is what used to be traditional slavery. The crime has evolved since its inception due to societal opinions and changes in morals. This violation of the law is an intentional offense with a large industry, and it produces great quantities of money for those overseeing the operations. Women and children are usually taken, kidnapped, deceived in some way or forced to go with their captor. They are subjected to involuntary servitude for some type of business. In some instances, organs are harvested from these individuals that may be vital and sold on the black market.

Profits from Human Trafficking

The industry of human trafficking is highly profitable with large quantities of money coming in from free labor. It has been the fastest growing industry in the criminal world for many years. Since 2004, revenue from this crime has exceeded $9 billion yearly. Due to the nature of this crime, law enforcement has found it difficult to find anyone to arrest. The crossing of borders with these criminals has caused the issue to become an international governmental problem that requires cooperation and communication to resolve. The United Nations explained that since 2008, over 2.5 million individuals from over 120 countries were taken and transported to over 130 countries around the world. These victims are usually abducted and then purchased and sold like someone’s property. The person taken cannot leave where he or she is moved to after being purchased with all the power in the hands of the owner.

Many of these individuals become prostitutes, manual laborers, brides, experiments and many other forced types of workers. The greatest number of smuggled and kidnapped persons are women of younger ages and children. Both may be used for sexual trade or as workers in the sex industry for a variety of clientele. In doing this type of work, these victims are usually drugged to both put up little resistance as well as to become dependent upon their captors. To reinforce who it is in charge, these sufferers may have little to no food, be chained up, may be confined in living quarters and beaten to the point of serious injury. Because living conditions are usually inhumane, numerous taken individuals do not survive to see freedom.

Kidnapping and Aggravated Kidnapping

Most instances of this crime have no aggravating factors. Penalties are issued based on these usual kidnapping instances. However, there are specific guidelines followed to determine if the criminal actions are considered aggravated based on some criteria. It is often these aggravating factors that cause a person to find himself or herself behind bars for a lengthy period of time. Additionally, compensation may have to be made to the family of the victim or the person abducted.

Aggravated Kidnapping Explained

When a simple kidnapping charge is elevated to aggravated, this usually means there were additional factors present for the crime to become worse in the eyes of the law. To become aggravated, the kidnapping often must have some kind of violence, injuries to the victim, ransom demands and similar issues attached to the crime. Dangerous weapons are often involved with aggravated criminal actions with the intention of harming or intimidating the person taken. Additional charges may be issued based on various elements of the crime, but these are usually saved for injuries, death and dismemberment of the target person. If multiple persons are taken, each person is counted as one charge each. Penalties are usually much harsher when more than one person has been abducted.

Elements of Aggravated Kidnapping

Some elements alter simple kidnapping charges to aggravated based on the actions the perpetrator took while confining the victim. If the person was forcibly seized, the charges often move up to the harsher crimes. When the person kidnapped is moved from one area to another, this has been considered grounds for aggravated kidnapping, as the abductor does not need to remove the person to kidnap him or her. Another element includes the intention of using force on the victim. This could be used on the victim or on someone else to ensure something of value has been given from him or her. Force may be used on the victim or someone he or she knows to ensure the target person provides the item or objects of value.

History of Kidnapping

Originally, this crime was considered to be one where the perpetrator used force to abduct someone with the action of removing him or her from their initial location to another one. Since the beginning definition of this crime, it has been modified to include when force is used to abduct a person or to confine him or her against his or her will. The crime is basically the same in each state with mild variations based on specific factors, but state laws have different definitions of what constitutes kidnapping as well as accompanying penalties applied through conviction.

Moving the Victim

In order for some states to consider this to be a crime, the victim must be moved a considerable distance from his or her original location. This means a person taken from one house to another may be considered to be kidnapped in some states, but taking the same person to another room in the same house in this state may not be deemed this crime. Some states do not use this factor for this crime