People have been impersonating other people for reasons such as personal gain and revenge since the dawn of time. In the internet age, impersonation is accomplished more easily than it has ever been before. Because internet impersonation can have devastating consequences, Texas statute prohibits online impersonation in two different ways. One portion of the statute covers web pages on both commercial networking sites and other websites, and the other section deals with email and message boards. Either one is a misdemeanor offense.
Impersonating another on social media is prohibited by law if all the following elements are met:
Email is another type of internet communication that may be used to impersonate another. Similar to impersonating another on a social networking site, several elements must be met for the state to prove online impersonation via email or messaging board, as follows:
Impersonating someone via social networking or other websites is a felony in the third degree, punishable by up to a $10,000 fine, up to 10 years in prison, or both, with a minimum punishment of two years in prison. Impersonating someone through email is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a jail sentence of up to one year, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. Reference Penal Code Section 33.07 for more information.
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