Virginia Identity Theft Laws and Penalties

Identity theft and identity fraud can be misdemeanor or felony offenses in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia, as elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia, depending on the specific conduct alleged. The most serious identity fraud offenses are those charged under Va. Code Code 18.2-186.3. However, there are a number of other offenses that also deal with the impersonation of another person.

The specific Virginia laws that apply to identity theft and fraud include:

  • Identity Fraud: Va. Code 18.2-186.3
  • Use of a person's identity with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass: Va. Code 18.2-186.4  
  • Impersonating a notary public: Va. Code 47.1-29
  • Fraudulent use of birth certificate: Va. Code 18.2-204.1
  • Manufacture, sale, or possession of fictitious, facsimile, or simulated official license or identification: Va. Code 18.2-204.2

Given the seriousness of these crimes, anyone charged with such an offense needs to consult with a lawyer who has previously handled such cases and who has the judgment, skill, and reputation to obtain the best possible resolution of the matter.

What Is Identity Fraud in Virginia?

The basic Virginia identity fraud code section, Va. Code 18.2-186.3, covers many forms of identity theft. This code section provides that it's illegal for any person with fraudulent intent to do any of the following acts:

  1. Access identifying information which isn't available to the general public.
  2. Obtain goods or services through the use of identifying information of such other person.
  3. Obtain identification documents in such other person's name.
  4. Obtain, record, or access identifying information of another while impersonating a law-enforcement officer or an official of the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Va. Code 18.2-186.3 also covers situations where a person gives a false name or other identifying information—Social Security number, date of birth, and so on—to a law enforcement officer.

The Penalties for Identity Theft and Identity Fraud in Virginia

People often ask, “What is the average jail time a person receives for a conviction of identity theft or fraud?” The answer depends on the specific conduct that occurred, the quality of your defense, and other factors, such as the level of fraud.

Any violation resulting in financial loss of $200 or more is as a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine. Any violation resulting in a financial loss of less than $200 is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. A second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a Class 6 felony regardless of the level of financial loss.

In any case where 50 or more persons' identifying information has been obtained, recorded, or accessed, the crime is punishable as a Class 5 felony. Class 5 felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Fraudulent Use of Birth Certificate

Va. Code 18.2-204.1 makes it unlawful for any person to obtain, possess, sell, or transfer the birth certificate of another for the purpose of establishing a false identity for himself or for another person. Further, it's illegal for any person to obtain, possess, sell, or transfer any document for the purpose of establishing a false status, occupation, membership, license or identity for himself or any other person.

Penalties for Fraudulent Use of a Birth Certificate in Virginia

A violation of this statute is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. However, when the birth certificate or document is obtained, possessed, sold, or transferred with the intent to use such certificate or document to purchase a firearm, a violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Manufacturing, Selling or Possessing Fake ID in Virginia

Va. Code 18.2-204.2 makes it illegal for any person to manufacture, advertise for sale, sell, or possess any fake, facsimile, or simulated: (1) driver's license, (2) United States Armed Forces identification card, (3) United States passport or foreign government visa, (4) Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles special identification card, (5) official identification issued by any other federal, state or foreign government agency, or (6) official university or college student identification card.

Penalties for Making, Selling or Having Fake IDs in Virginia

Any person manufacturing, advertising for sale, selling, or reproducing such card or facsimile shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Any person possessing any such card or facsimile shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested for Any Kind of Identity Theft

If you have been arrested for any form of identity theft or identity fraud in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Alexandria, or elsewhere in Northern Virginia, contact Manikas Law, LLC by phone or email to schedule an appointment. We'll make sure all of your rights are protected and fight hard on your behalf.