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WPIC 131.00 Identity Theft—Introduction

11A WAPRAC WPIC 131.00Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

11A Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 131.00 (5th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
December 2021 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XIII. Miscellaneous Crimes
WPIC CHAPTER 131. Identity Theft
WPIC 131.00 Identity Theft—Introduction
First enacted in 1999, the identity theft statutes in RCW Chapter 9.35 have undergone several amendments. The statutory statement of intent recognizes the Legislature's concern that financial information is personal and sensitive information that if “unlawfully obtained, possessed, used, or transferred by others may result in significant harm to a person's privacy, financial security and other interests.” RCW 9.35.001. In enacting the statute, the Legislature intended to protect small businesses and corporations, as well as natural persons, from the harms resulting from identity theft. State v. Evans, 177 Wn.2d 186, 298 P.3d 724 (2013). RCW Chapter 9.35 includes definitions of financial information, financial information repository, means of identification, person, and victim. See RCW 9.35.005.
Originally, the statute had a single level of identity theft, which was considered a property crime. See former RCW 9.35.020 (1999). Subsequent amendments provided for two different levels of identity theft based on whether the perpetrator obtained value, credit, or services in excess of $1,500. Amendments in 2006 provided that identity theft is a crime against a person. See RCW 9.35.020. The statutory elements were further amended in 2008. See Laws of 2008, Chapter 207, § 4 (effective June 12, 2008).
The statute is not unconstitutionally vague; it provides fair warning of what is prohibited along with objective standards by which the defendant's guilt can be measured. State v. Evans, 177 Wn.2d 186, 298 P.3d 724 (2013); State v. Allenbach, 136 Wn.App. 95, 147 P.3d 644 (2006). Conviction for identity theft as well as for the crime the defendant intended to commit does not constitute double jeopardy. State v. Hayes, 164 Wn.App. 459, 262 P.3d 538 (2011); State v. Milam, 155 Wn.App. 365, 228 P.3d 788 (2010).
The unit of prosecution is defined by statute. See RCW 9.35.001(1) and RCW 9.35.020(4).
Effective July 23, 2017, RCW 9.35.020(2) was amended to add targeting a senior or vulnerable individual to the definition of first degree identity theft.
[Current as of January 2020.]
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