I Impersonated Someone Online: Can the Police Arrest Me?

Laws regarding criminal activities that are carried out on the Internet have had to expand rapidly to keep pace with the growing presence of the web in daily life. Some of these laws deal with a crime known as online impersonation. These days, many people are putting out their own personal websites, blogs and social media pages. With so much personal information being made public, there are many opportunities for online impersonation to occur.

What Is Online Impersonation?

Simply put, online impersonation is the act of using theInternet to conduct activities while using another person’s identifying information. Specifically, the law refers to sending messages or creating websites while posing as another person with the intent to harm or defraud the other person. For example, if a person creates a social media account with the name and photo of their ex-spouse and then uses that profile to send embarrassing messages to the ex-spouse’s family, that person may be guilty of online impersonation. This is a relatively new law and the implications of it are still being developed. Even so, it is still completely possible to be charged, arrested and jailed for committing online impersonation.

Am I Going to Jail?

It’s impossible to say for certain whether or not someone is going to jail without knowing all the facts of the case. Even then, it’s impossible to predict what a jury or judge will decide. It is possible to comment on the likelihood of jail time in the context of committing certain crimes. For example, if a person creates a website in another person’s name and then posts defamatory or derogatory information on that website, then that person is eligible to be charged, convicted and jailed according to Texas law. It’s important to consider that these laws have not been adopted by all fifty states. It’s possible that someone could be charged with online impersonation under Texas law but then have the charges dropped because they committed the crime in a state that hasn’t made that action illegal. To be on the safe side, it’s best to never post information on the Internet in another person’s name. In the event that charges are filed, a defense is still possible. According to the law, the prosecution must prove that the impersonation was carried out in order to harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten any person. A defense lawyer may be able to argue that the impersonation was done as a joke and no harm was intended.

Get an Attorney

This is still a new law that hasn’t been utilized in a great number of cases. It’s best to consult with an experienced lawyer if online impersonation charges have been filed. An experienced attorney can determine the defense strategy you should take to reduce or eliminate your charges.

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About the Author

Law Office of James Alston. serves people who need legal assistance in their Criminal Defense Cases in Texas.

Houston Criminal Lawyer James Alston represents clients in the Houston area, including Pasadena, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Channelview, Conroe, Galveston, Angleton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Beaumont, Galveston County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Harris County and Jefferson County in Texas.