How do I defend myself when been charged with fraudulent use/possession of identifying information?

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2011

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How do I defend myself when been charged with fraudulent use/possession of identifying information?

This is my first time being in trouble with the law. Will I need a lawyer or just go to court and tell them my side of the story? Will it jail time be involved?

Asked on January 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Anytime criminal charges are involved it is critical to have competent legal representation.  And the fact is that the offense you have been charged with is a serious one.  An experienced defense attorney may be able to get the charge dismissed/reduced, or win an acquittal at trial.  Additionally, since you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible for some form of alternative sentencing that will leave you with a clean criminal record. Try to hire a criminal lawyer that is local to the court in question; they will have contacts within the system that can be invaluable in this case.

Since jail time is potentially involved, you may be appointed a Public Defender (if you meet the income eligibility requirements).  If you don't, check to see if you qualify for representation by Legal Aid (although it has its own income guidelines).  Additionally, you could see if there is a law school nearby to the court in question; they typically run legal clinics that handle just this type of case for free/low cost.  Finally, you could also contact the local Bar Association in the county in which this has all taken place; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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