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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 10 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. 


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