These charges are class one misdemeanors collectively. There can be forms of these crimes that are felonies as well. They will be addressed separately. As a class one misdemeanor the maximum penalty is one (1) year in jail and a fine of $2500. These offenses include using the identification of others or having identifying information for you for any of several purposes such as false social security cards and other false information with your real name. This information may be used to obtain goods or services under false pretenses. It can include having identification to establish legal residence when you are not a legal resident, for example, to gain employment. It can be for the purpose of attempting to identify another to avoid revealing your identity for prosecution by the police. There are numerous other uses of fraudulent ID that can result in prosecution.
These crimes are aggressively prosecuted and punished by the Court. The reason that they are treated so seriously is that they often result in the victim of the theft or fraud being charged with crimes they did not commit, and there have been cases where innocent people have even been incarcerated until the matter can be cleared up. In addition it can have a negative impact on credit ratings and financial status. Often, the victims of these crimes must spend considerable time and expense to undo the damage done. For these reasons defendants are often incarcerated upon conviction, even for a first offense.
Because these crimes involve fraud they are often difficult to prosecute. There are a number of ways that the evidence can be challenged. All of these defenses are case specific due to the nature of the offenses. An attorney will have to sort out the facts of each case and determine what, if any defenses might apply to your case.
In addition to the criminal penalties involved there may be restitution issues if goods or services were falsely obtained.
An added problem in many of these cases is the involvement of Immigration and Customs Enforcement where the cases concern illegal immigrants who have false ID for work purposes or to prove legal status for other reasons. If this is a concern an immigration attorney may be needed to prevent action being taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.