Identity theft is one of the most common white-collar offenses that prosecutors charge in the state of Texas. Being convicted of this crime can mean a loss of someone’s freedom. It can also result in the creation of a criminal record that follows a person around for the rest of his or her life. When an individual is accused of committing identity theft, it is critical for him or her to seek out sound legal advice from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer.
Defining Identity Theft
Identity theft is explained in the Texas Penal Code at §32.51. A person may be charged with this offense when he has the intent to obtain or use someone else’s private identifying information without permission in order to harm or commit fraud against the other person. The victim of this crime can be dead, alive or even under the age of 18.
According to Texas law, identifying information may include any of the following examples:
- A person’s name
- Social security number
- Home address
- Biometric data such as retinal or iris image, voiceprint or thumbprint
- Financial account numbers
Penalties for Identity Theft in Texas
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code describes the penalties for standard identity theft convictions. The penalties may be increased if additional factors were a part of an offense, such as the defendant having an established criminal history, the victim was elderly or the commission of the offense led to the death or serious bodily injury of another. The punishment also depends on how many instances of identity theft that the person is charged with. Potential punishments for this crime can include:
- State jail felony: A maximum fine of $10,000 and/or 180 days to two years in state jail
- Third-degree felony: A maximum fine of $10,000 and/or two to 10 years in prison
- Second-degree felony: A maximum fine of $10,000 and/or two to 20 years in prison
- First-degree felony: A maximum fine of $10,000 and/or five to 99 years in prison
Contact an Identity Theft Lawyer in Houston
A skilled identity theft attorney like James Alston will explore every aspect of a case to provide the best legal defense for a client. Mr. Alston is a former assistant district attorney; he will use his vast knowledge of the criminal justice system to anticipate the prosecution’s case against a defendant so that he can better prepare a defense. He will require prosecutors to prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Most importantly, he will do everything he can to protect your rights in a court of law.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free telephone consultation at (713) 228-1400