Denver Lawyer Explains Identity Theft Supreme Court Ruling
The Colorado Supreme Court has great power in setting law for Denver, Colorado courts. While the legislature passes laws, the Supreme Court interprets those laws to such an extent, that it sometimes redefines the law. In a recent case the court examined Colorado’s Identity Theft law, located at C.R.S. 18-5-902. In particular, the court addressed an issue of the accused’s mental state, often called mens rea. Let’s study this in more detail, because this holding can affect other charges you may be facing.
What is Mental State in Jefferson County Criminal Charges?
Mental state deals with what the accused person was thinking when they committed a crime. Some of these mental states are “knowingly,” “intentionally,” “with intent,” “willfully,” “recklessly,” or “with criminal negligence”. Here is how this works. Imagine a man accused of hurting someone when he ran into them at the mall. Assault in the third degree requires the defendant to “knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person.” So, unless the accused hurt the person on purpose, or while acting recklessly, he will be found innocent. The mental state is very important, and is an element of most every crime.
Identity Theft in Arapahoe County – How does Mental State Apply?
The Colorado Supreme Court says that the mental state of Identity Theft is “knowingly”. People v. Perez dealt with what the defendant needs to have knowingly done. The court held that “Knowingly” applied to the element “of another”. More specifically, “an offender must have used the identifying information of another person with knowledge that the information belonged to an actual person.” Mr. Perez had been convicted of using another person’s Social Security number to obtain employment. He did not have his own SSN, so he argued that he fabricated one in order to obtain a job.
The defense argued that there was insufficient evidence that Mr. Perez knew the number belonged to a real person. The court laid out the law on sufficiency of evidence at trial: Evidence is sufficient to sustain a conviction if the quantity and quality of the relevant evidence would support a fair minded jury’s finding “that the guilt of the accused has been established beyond a reasonable doubt with regard to each essential element of the crime.” A verdict cannot be supported by guessing, speculation, conjecture, or a mere modicum of relevant evidence. Id. However, the court should not attempt to “serve as a thirteenth juror or invade the province of the jury.”
The Definition of Identity Theft in Douglas County and all Colorado
A person commits identity theft if he or she:
- Knowingly uses the personal identifying information, financial identifying information, or financial device of another without permission or lawful authority with the intent to obtain cash, credit, property, services, or any other thing of value or to make a financial payment; or
- Knowingly possesses the personal identifying information, financial identifying information, or financial device of another without permission or lawful authority, with the intent to use or to aid or permit some other person to use such information or device to obtain cash, credit, property, services, or any other thing of value or to make a financial payment; or
- With the intent to defraud, falsely makes, completes, alters, or utters a written instrument or financial device containing any personal identifying information or financial identifying information of another; or
- Knowingly possesses the personal identifying information or financial identifying information of another without permission or lawful authority to use in applying for or completing an application for a financial device or other extension of credit; or
- Knowingly uses or possesses the personal identifying information of another without permission or lawful authority with the intent to obtain a government-issued document.
Supreme Court Ruling on the Identity Theft Case – A Defense Attorney’s Take
The court held that the government must prove an offender “used the identifying information of another person with knowledge that the information belonged to an actual person.” It also held that there was enough evidence from the trial that Mr. Perez knew a real person other than him, held that number. The jury convicted Mr. Perez because they did not believe he just made up the number, or that he did not know a real person had that social security number as theirs.
Adams County Identity Theft Attorney
Our lawyers defend against charges of the class 4 felony Identity Theft in Adams County and nearby cities Thornton, Northglenn and Brighton. Never talk to police, because they will be trying to meet key elements of your charges in an Identity Theft case. Instead, call the best Adams County Theft attorneys at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.
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