How to defend yourself against an identity fraud charge

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Receiving a criminal sanction is never a pleasure. However, the purpose of the following article is to make you aware that it is still better to assume the consequences of your actions, especially when you commit an offence under the Highway Safety Code and use another person’s identity.

What the identity fraud law says

In the Canadian Criminal Code, there is an offence related to identity fraud. This offence, formerly called “presumption of person”, is committed when it is shown that the accused presented himself as the person he was attempting to impersonate. The simple fact of using another person’s name sometimes leads to the inference that the individual was impersonating that person.

To this end, section 403 of the Criminal Code provides as follows:

(1) Everyone commits an offence who fraudulently personates another person, living or dead,

(a) with intent to gain advantage for themselves or another person;

(b) with intent to obtain any property or an interest in any property;

(c) with intent to cause disadvantage to the person being personated or another person; or

(d) with intent to avoid arrest or prosecution or to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), personating a person includes pretending to be the person or using the person’s identity information — whether by itself or in combination with identity information pertaining to any person — as if it pertains to the person using it.

(3) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Some nuances to know when defending against an identity fraud charge

Jurisprudence indicates, however, that it takes more than just the use of a nickname by the accused to prove guilt. In addition, the Crown will have to prove that the accused, by his actions, was seeking an advantage. This advantage must not be understood strictly from an economic point of view.

Honesty safeguards you against an identity fraud charge if arrested for a driving infraction

Although there is a burden for the Crown to meet before being convicted of this offence, it is nevertheless wiser to identify yourself properly and not take any chances. Did you fail to make a mandatory stop? Paying your ticket and getting everything settled is more prudent. We obviously do not recommend impersonating another person in an attempt to avoid paying this fine, even if you are driving while impaired. As you can see, the consequences will be much greater, since you could end up with a criminal record. Don’t take that risk, because the chances of being caught are high.

Hire a lawyer: the right solution for an effective defence to an identity fraud charge

If you were unaware of the risks and you committed this offence believing that it was a trivial act, we invite you to contact our law firm that specializes in criminal law. We are constantly working to find the best possible defences for our clients and to limit the consequences of committing an offence.

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