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Juliana
Juliana, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Former prosecutor with 4 years of experience, criminal justice degree
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My son is facing approx. 10 charges of idenity theft in which

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My son is facing approx. 10 charges of idenity theft in which he opened credit cards in my name and my wife's name in the amount of $84,000.He is currently serving a 60 day sentence for probation violation for insurance fraud. Should he get a private attorney or a public defender, he has no money. Also what kind of sentence would he be facing.He is going to plead guilty to all charges.

Hello,

 

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and former prosecutor. I will be happy to assist you with your question.

 

Here is the text of Rhode Island's penalty statute for larceny (theft) and related theft offenses:

 

§ 11-41-5 Penalties for larceny. - (a) Any person convicted of any offense under §§ 11-41-1 - 11-41-6, except § 11-41-3, if the value of the property or money stolen, received, embezzled, fraudulently appropriated, converted, or obtained, received, taken, or secreted by false pretenses or otherwise with intent to cheat, defraud, embezzle, or fraudulently convert exceeds five hundred dollars ($500), or if the property is a firearm as defined in § 11-47-5.1, regardless of its value, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both. If the value of the property or money does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500), the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both. Any person convicted of an offense under § 11-41-2 who shall be found to have knowingly obtained the property from a person under eighteen (18) years of age, notwithstanding the value of the property, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both.

 

(b) Any person convicted of an offense in violation of §§ 11-41-1 - 11-41-7, except § 11-41-3, which involves a victim who is a person sixty-five (65) years of age or older at the time of the offense and which involves property or money stolen, received, embezzled, fraudulently appropriated, converted, or obtained, received, taken, or secreted by false pretenses or otherwise with intent to cheat, defraud, embezzle, or fraudulently convert, with a value in excess of five hundred dollars ($500), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two (2) years but not more than fifteen (15) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both. If the value of the property or money does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500), the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year but not more than five (5) years or by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars ($3,000), or both.

 

Therefore, for just one count of identity theft, your son could be facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If you or your wife were 65 years of age or older at the time of the offense(s), the penalty for one count of identity theft could be from 2-15 years and a fine of up to $5,000.

 

Since your son is facing multiple counts of identity theft, it is difficult to determine what his sentence will be. Undoubtedly, the prosecutor and your son's defense attorney (more about that in a minute) might be able to work out a deal whereby he pleads to one count in exchange for a dismissal of the other 9 counts. But again, the outcome of these charges is solely within the discretion of the prosecutor/judge/defense attorney.

 

With respect to an attorney for your son, the court where he is charged will have certain financial requirements for a defendant to qualify for court-appointed counsel. The judge or clerk will likely have your son fill out a questionnaire regarding his income and assets, and then a determination will be made as to whether he meets the financial qualifications. If so, then he can be appointed a public defender (court appointed attorney). Of course, if he has no money himself, but he can obtain money from either you or another source, he can hire a private attorney to represent him. However, if he has no money, it sounds as though a public defender would be the best route for him to take.

 

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to your son, and also to you and your wife.

 

Juliana

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