Identity theft charges have become far more frequent in recent years. Under the Texas Penal Code, Title 7, § 32.51, identity theft crime is termed “Fraudulent Use of Possession of Identifying Information.” A wide range of personal information belonging to another individual, obtained and used in a fraudulent manner, if discovered, will lead to charges of identity theft.
The forms of stolen identifying information in cases of identity theft include:
- Name and date of birth of another person
- Biometric data such as fingerprint, voiceprint, retina, or iris image
- Social security number of other government-issued ID
- Electronic ID numbers such as address, routing, or financial institution routing number
- Telecommunication access devices such as card, plate, code, account number, etc.
For charges to be filed against you, law enforcement must have strong evidence to establish that you used one or more of these forms of identification to obtain money, goods, services, or other valuable items, or transferred money fraudulently by using another’s personal information.
Common Types of Identity Theft
Identity theft can take many forms, but just a few of the most common criminal accusations for the offense include but are not limited to:
- Existing account takeover: the use of another’s personal information to access or take over a bank account, credit card, file an insurance claim, or other similar action
- New account establishment: The use of another’s ID to establish a new credit card account, bank account, or obtain services
- Medical identity theft: The use of another’s personal ID to obtain medical care or treatment
- Employment identity theft: The use of another’s social security number to gain employment
Levels of Felony Identity Theft in Texas
The charges vary in severity, based upon the number of illegal acts performed with other party’s identifying information:
- Less than five items obtained, possessed, or transferred: State Jail Felony
- More than five but less than 10 items: Third-Degree Felony
- More than 10 but less than 50: Second-Degree Felony
- More than 50: First-degree felony.
Penalties for Identity Theft
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code outlines the penalties to be imposed for identity theft, with increases to the next higher level of felony if committed against an elderly person or if the crime involved physical harm or loss of life.
Why Call Attorney James Alston?
Many excellent legal professionals practice criminal law in Texas, but which criminal defense attorney is right for your case? Attorney James Alston brings some exceptional experience to the table to serve you, including:
- Served eight years as a prosecutor in the Harris County DA’s office
- Formerly served as a federal prosecutor
- Is board-certified as a specialist in criminal law
- Will work directly with you, not turn your case over to an associate
- Has the resources and knowledge to perform extensive investigations to reveal the truth
Attorney James Alston has vast knowledge of the inner workings of the criminal justice system that allow him to anticipate the substance of a prosecution’s case, and better prepare a defense case. He is known for his professional case development, ability to present a convincing case to a judge and jury in raising reasonable doubt, and for his personal dedication to his clients. Call today for help.