Houston Identity Theft Attorney
Skilled Identity Theft Defense Lawyer in Houston, TX
In order to pursue the best outcome on your case, you want a highly trained litigator who will fight hard to protect your rights and your freedom. Our Houston Identity Theft Attorney is a former Federal Prosecutor who understands the seriousness of identity theft charges.
Texas Penal Code Section 32.51 makes the “fraudulent use or possession of identifying information” unlawful. According to statute identifying information includes anything containing a person’s:
- “Name and date of birth;
- Unique biometric data, including the person’s fingerprint, voice print or retina or iris image;
- Unique electronic identification number, routing code, or financial institution account number
- Telecommunication identifying information or access device; and
- Social security number or other government-issued identification number.”
To be convicted of identity theft, it must be shown that you obtained, possessed, transferred, or used the identifying information of another without their consent with the intent to harm or defraud.
Penalties for Identity Theft in Texas
The penalties for committing identity theft depend on the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used.
Less than five items – a person may be convicted of a state jail felony punishable by up to two (2) years in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Five or more but less than ten – a person may be convicted of a third-degree felony punishable by up to ten (10) years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Ten or more but less than fifty – a person may be convicted of a second-degree felony punishable by up to twenty (20) years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Fifty or more – a person may be convicted of a first-degree felony punishable by up to life imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or a term of not less than five years or more than ninety-nine years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Enhancements for identity theft include if the offense was committed against an elderly individual or used in an attempt to defraud law enforcement with registration requirements under Article 62.058.
Defenses to Federal Identity Theft in Houston
Several defenses arise in a federal identity theft case. For instance, a knowledgeable defense attorney in Houston, TX, may be able to prove that you lacked the requisite intent necessary to commit the crime. Additionally, you may have been falsely accused of the crime, which could lead to a dismissal of the charges. Without an experienced Houston Identity Theft Attorney in Houston, you may not know how to defend your case. A federal prosecutor will have innumerable resources to investigate and prosecute your case. You need a leading defense lawyer to develop a successful strategy in your case.
Identity theft officially became a federal crime with the passage of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998. Federal identity theft is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a). The statute, as amended, makes it unlawful if a person “knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.”
Penalties for Federal Identity Theft
The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 increased criminal penalties for a person convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a). If convicted, a person may face a maximum of fifteen (15) years in prison, a substantial fine, or both. Penalties are increased to imprisonment of not more than twenty (20) years of imprisonment, a fine, or both if the offense is committed:
- To facilitate a drug trafficking crime
- In connection with a crime of violence
- After a prior conviction under this section becomes final
Furthermore, if the offense is committed to facilitate an act of domestic or international terrorism, a person may be sentenced to up to thirty (30) years in prison.
Hire a Qualified Houston Identity Theft Attorney
Attorney James Alston is a well-respected criminal defense attorney that began his career working as both a state and federal prosecutor. During that time, he investigated and prosecuted numerous white-collar crimes, including those involving fraud, forgery, and identity theft. Now, as a zealous advocate for his clients, he fights hard to protect their rights and their freedoms. He is board-certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has been recognized by numerous organizations for his work as a leader in the industry.
Contact James Alston Law today for a consultation. You should not have to fight these charges alone. Mr. Alston is an experienced identity theft defense lawyer who can help you get your life back on track. Our intake staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call today at (713) 228-1400.