Texas on Identity Theft

Posted by on Oct 26, 2014 in Criminal Defense Law | 1 comment

In our increasingly electronic and largely anonymous world, the means by which we do much of our transactions are with the use of government-issued or institution-issued identification cards. We have also become used to having our personal information used to verify our identities as sufficiently safe and secure. The fact is, we are more vulnerable to identity fraud today than at any time in our history because of how easy it is for criminal elements to get access to our identification cards and personal information. For this reason, the law has become increasingly stringent in prosecuting those who are suspected of committing identity theft.

Identity theft, formally known as “fraudulent use or possession of identifying information” under Texas Law (Penal Code §32.21) is a felony, and a conviction carries escalating penalties depending on the circumstances. At the very least, it is a state fail felony with a minimum of 180 days in prison plus a fine; at worst, it is a first degree felony which means 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. People convicted of identity theft may also be required to pay restitution.

However, we can be breaking the law without knowing it. For example, if you know the information to get into your boss’s account and you accessed it regularly to verify some transactions without informing her each and every time that you would be doing this, you are technically in violation of this law. Now let’s say that your boss has a grudge against you and reported you to the police; you may find yourself hard put to defend yourself.

As pointed out on the website of Inglis Defense, it is advisable to get legal guidance when facing any type of criminal charge no matter how seemingly minor the offense is. It is so easy to make a mistake and pay the price for something you didn’t do. In the above instance, you will probably use the defense that you had no intention to harm or deceive your boss, which is a principal element in proving identity fraud.

Make no mistake, identity fraud is a serious crime, and can really wreak havoc on your life. When charged with a crime, consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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