Identity theft is a serious crime in Texas that can carry severe consequences. Facing a charge of identity theft can be a stressful and frightening time, both for you and your family.
If you were accused of stealing someone else’s identity, it’s imperative to speak with a Fort Worth identity theft lawyer. With years of experience defending identity theft cases, our team can increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Whether it’s pretrial negotiations or taking your case to trial, we will fight for you every step of the way.
What are the Penalties for Stealing Someone’s Identity?
Texas defines identity theft as obtaining, using, possessing, or transferring any personal information of another without consent with the intent to harm or defraud. See Texas Penal Code Ann. §32.51(b)(1). Although this sounds straightforward, both the offense and possible punishment case can be nuanced.
The severity of the felony and the consequences are determined by the number of identifying items in possession. Identifying items include things like a person’s name, date of birth, bank account information, social security number, or credit card information. In other words, an aggressive prosecutor can allege one credit card as two offenses, the first being the name and the second being the credit card number.
If a defendant is in possession of one to four identifying items, they are facing a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in state jail facility. If a defendant is in possession of five to nine items, they are facing a third-degree felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. If a defendant is in possession of ten to 49 items, they are facing a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If a defendant has 50 or more identifying items, they are facing a first-degree felony and up to 99 years in prison.
Further, the punishment may be increased if the victim is over 65 years old, or if the fake identity was used to avoid registering as a sex offender. Our experienced attorneys in Fort Worth will walk you through your identity theft accusations and explain the potential consequences.
Defenses Against Identity Theft Allegations
In any criminal case, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the crime. Defenses that negate any aspect of the offense prevent the prosecution from meeting this burden. For identity theft, showing there was no intent to harm or defraud, that you had permission to use the information, or that you were not actually in possession of the identifying information are all viable defenses.
While some cases are fought in trial, others are negotiated using a two-fold process. First our attoneys identify and leverage any weaknesses in the case. Second, we work mitigating any merits of the case.
Whether fighting an identity theft charge or pleading guilty, you will want to discuss all of your options with an experienced Forth Worth attorney. A felony conviction can affect your life and livelihood for years to come. Outside of prison time, employers and lending institutions will look at your criminal history. Further, a conviction may also have immigration consequences.
Speak with a Fort Worth Identity Theft Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is facing an identity theft charge, it’s important to contact a defense attorney who is experienced in paper-intensive and white collar crimes. Identity theft cases can be voluminous and complex. Our Fort Worth identity theft lawyer has years of experience handling these types of cases and can increase your chances of a positive outcome. Call to schedule your free consultation today.