Identity theft is when an individual uses someone else’s personally identifiable information, such as a Social Security number, credit or debit card. Identity theft is a type of white-collar crime and could leave you seeking a Houston, Texas, identity theft attorney.
Criminals obtain this personally identifiable information in a variety of ways, including:
- Finding trash with the information on it
- Using a skimmer to obtain credit or debit card information
- Phishing or otherwise spamming an individual
- Stealing property like a wallet
What Is Identity Theft According To Texas Law?
Texas Penal Code, Title 7, § 32.51 outlines identity theft as “fraudulent use or possession of identifying information.” The law goes on to outline the following as personal identifying information:
- Name and date of birth
- Biometric data, (fingerprint, voice print, or retina/iris image)
- Unique electronic identification number, address, routing code, or financial institution account number;
- Telecommunication identifying information or access device; and
- Social security number or other government-issued identification number
How Can I Defend Myself Against Identity Theft Charges In Texas?
Once you’ve been charged with identity theft, your attorney will begin reviewing the evidence against you to build your defense. How your attorney chooses to build that defense will be based on the circumstances around your charges, but your defense might include the following.
- No intent to deceive or harm another individual. Misunderstandings can happen. To be convicted, the prosecution must prove that you intended to use the stolen identity to deceive or somehow harm someone else.
- Incorrect or missing facts. Your attorney can prove that you did not possess the identity of someone else or did not improperly use such information.
- Authorization to use the person’s identity. In some cases, the person who uses someone else’s identity has permission to do so. There are a variety of reasons why you might have permission to use someone else’s information, including being a representative for your company to act on their behalf.
What Penalties Can I Face For Identity Theft In Texas?
Identity theft is a serious crime in Texas and carries with it severe penalties. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, individuals who are convicted of identity theft can be charged with the following:
- From 180 days to nine years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
To avoid facing such severe penalties, you should hire a skilled Houston, Texas, identity theft attorney. Your attorney can review the case information to help you build the best possible defense to either eliminate or lessen your charges.
The Law Offices Of James Alston is a superb choice for your Houston, Texas, criminal defense. James brings his experience as a former state prosecutor to light so that you have the best chance of avoiding conviction. Contact us to start your Houston, Texas, identity theft defense.