Misrepresenting who you are by utilizing the personal information of someone else, or someone’s business, is a serious crime in Wisconsin. If you are currently facing an identity theft charge, you may be feeling understandably uneasy about the repercussions you could potentially face in the event that your charge ultimately leads to a conviction.

In fact, using someone else’s personal information to obtain goods or services, avoid civil or criminal processes or penalties, or damage the reputation of that person is actually a class H felony crime, and it can bring with it potentially life-altering penalties. Per the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, violating the state’s identity theft laws can leave you facing fines as high as $10,000, and up to six years behind bars.

Understanding Wisconsin’s individual identity theft laws

Any unauthorized use of someone else’s personal information could eventually lead to identity theft charges. You may not, for example, use someone else’s name address or telephone number without permission, nor can you use other identifying personal information, such as a driver’s license number, Social Security number or bank account number.

Unauthorized use of someone’s physical identifying characteristics, too, can constitute identity theft. For example, you may not use someone else’s fingerprint or a similar physical trait to misrepresent who you are.

Understanding Wisconsin’s business identity theft laws

While the state’s identity theft laws make it illegal to use someone’s personal information without authorization, laws also ban using the identifying information of a business, charity or similar type of organization. Doing so in an effort to obtain credit, money, employment or anything else of value can lead to a felony charge, as can using a business or similar entity’s information in an effort to damage its value or reputation.

Identity theft is a serious crime that can lead to equally serious consequences. You may also face collateral consequences in the wake of an identity theft conviction in addition to criminal ones.