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Fraudulent Use of ID

Houston Fraudulent ID Use Lawyer

Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information under Texas Penal Code § 32.51 prohibits a person from obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses an item of identifying information of another person without the other persons consent with the intent to harm or defraud another, Tex. Penal Code Ann. 32.51(b)(1).

Consent in this context means assent in fact, whether express or apparent. Tex. Penal Code Ann. 1.07(a)(11). The term “assent in fact” means there must be an actual or real agreement after thoughtful consideration. Blair v. State, 398 S.W.3d 220, 229 (Tex.Crim.App.2013). Apparent consent means assent in fact that, while not communicated expressly, is no less clear and manifest to the understanding for not having been explicitly verbalized. Id.

Houston Fraudulent ID Use Lawyer

If you face charges of fraudulent use of identification anywhere in Harris County or Montgomery County, you can be represented by an experienced defense attorney. Houston fraudulent ID use lawyer Matt Horak fights for the rights of those charged with this offense or any other white collar crime.

Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at [phone-tollfree] to schedule a consultation.

Information of Fraudulent Use of an I.D. Charges in Harris County

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Penalties for Fraudulent Use of an I.D.

Section 32.51 has a penalty range of a state jail felony to a first degree felony.

Under section 32.51, the degree of the offense depends on the number of items of identifying information possessed, obtained, or used. Id. § 32.51(c). While the legislature defined the phrase “identifying information,” it failed to define the phrase “item of identifying information.”

The penalties for the fraudulent use or possession of identifying information include:

  • if the number of items used are less than 5 then it is a state jail felony;
  • if the number of items used are five or more but less than 10 then it is a felony of the third degree;
  • if the number of items used are 10 or more but less than 50 then it is a felony of the second degree; or
  • if the number of items used are 50 or more than it is a felony of the first degree.

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Enhanced Penalties for the Fraudulent Use or Possession of an I.D.

Under Texas Penal Code § 32.51(c-1), the penalties for the offense are increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:

  1. the offense was committed against an elderly individual as defined by Section 22.04; or
  2. the actor fraudulently used identifying information with the intent to facilitate an offense under Article 62.102, Code of Criminal Procedure.

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Definitions in the Texas Fraudulent Use of I.D. Statute

Texas Penal Code § 32.51(a)(1) defines the term “identifying information” to mean information that alone or in conjunction with other information identifies a person, including 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, address, routing code, or financial institution account number;
  • telecommunication identifying information or access device; and
  • social security number or other government-issued identification number.

Texas Penal Code § 32.51(a)(2) defines the term “telecommunication access device” to mean “a card, plate, code, account number, personal identification number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier or means of account access that alone or in conjunction with another telecommunication access device may be used to:

  • obtain money, goods, services, or other thing of value; or
  • initiate a transfer of funds other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument.”

Texas Penal Code § 32.51(b) prohibits a person from fraudulently using or possessing identifying information with the intent to harm or defraud another. Proof of the offense requires that the person obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses an item of:

  1. identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent;
  2. information concerning a deceased natural person, including a stillborn infant or fetus, that would be identifying information of that person were that person alive, if the item of information is obtained, possessed, transferred, or used without legal authorization; or
  3. identifying information of a child younger than 18 years of age.

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Presumptions for Intent to Harm or Defraud

Under Texas Penal Code § 32.51(b-1), the statute states that the person is presumed to have the intent to harm or defraud another if the person possesses:

  1. the identifying information of three or more other persons;
  2. information described by Subsection (b)(2) concerning three or more deceased persons; or
  3. information described by Subdivision (1) or (2) concerning three or more persons or deceased persons.

The presumption does not apply “to a business or other commercial entity or a government agency that is engaged in a business activity or governmental function that does not violate a penal law of this state.”

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Texas Identity Theft Resources

Texas Attorney General on Identity Theft – Visit the website for the Attorney General of Texas to find out more about fighting and preventing identity theft. The website provides information on actions you should take if you become a victim of identity theft including a Identity Theft Kit to put security alerts and a freeze on your credit report.

VICARS – Victims Initiative for Counseling Advocacy and Restoration of the Southwest (VICARS) is a program created by the Texas Legal Services Center to provide free civil legal services to victims of identity theft and financial fraud.

Texas Fights ID Theft – Find information on help for the more than 25,000 Texans who report being victims of identity theft. Learn more about stopping ongoing damage. and filling out an I.D. theft affidavit.

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Finding an Attorney for Fraudulent Use of Possession of an I.D.

If you are charged with using or possessing another person’s identification or I.D., then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Texas. Matt Horak represent clients throughout the greater Houston area, including all of Harris County and the surrounding areas of The Woodlands, in Montgomery County, Texas.

Call (713) 225-8000 for a consultation.

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  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Criminal Law
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Laywers
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
  • Matt Horak has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer Legion