Identity theft is commonly known as ID theft or stealing another person’s identity, and usually occurs when someone uses an individual’s personally identifying information without their permission, including their name, Social Security number, or credit or debit card information.
- Identity theft is usually committed when an individual takes another person’s identity by: Rummaging through trash for bills or other papers with personally identifying information, or “dumpster diving,”
- Skimming, or using a storage device to obtain another person’s credit or debit card numbers,
- Phishing, or pretending to be a financial institution by sending spam or other messages requesting personally identifying information,
- Stealing property with the information in it, including purses, wallets and pre-approved credit card offers, or
- Sending your billing information to another address by completing a change of address form.
It is important to hire a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in Texas white collar crimes to represent your best interests for any offense you have been charged with. A conviction for identity theft can result in severe punishments and repercussions, including fines, jail or prison sentences and/or a criminal record.
Houston Identity Theft Lawyer
Contact Matt Horak Attorney at Law today for a consultation about your theft offense in Houston. Matt Horak is an experienced criminal defense attorney and will make every effort to help you find the best possible outcome for your particular situation. Contact Horak Law at (713) 225-8000 for a consultation today if you have been charged with identity theft in Harris County and the surrounding counties in Texas.
Harris County ID Theft Overview
- Texas Identity Theft Law
- False Statement to Obtain Property or Credit
- Penalties for Identity Theft in Texas
Texas Identity Theft Law
Identity Theft occurs under Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 32.51 when an individual with the intent to harm or defraud another person obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses:
- Identifying information of another person without their consent,
- A deceased person’s information that would be identifying if they were alive, and/or
- Identifying information of a person who is younger than 18 years old.
A conviction for this offense can result in a state jail felony, felony of the third degree, felony of the second degree, or felony of the first degree, depending on the number of pieces of identifying information the alleged offender had.
In the fraudulent use of an I.D. statute, the term identifying information in Texas is information that identifies a person, including a person’s name, social security number, date of birth, government-issued identification number, fingerprint image, voice print, iris or retina image, electronic identification numbers, address, routing code, financial institution account numbers, and telecommunication identifying information or access device.
False Statement to Obtain Property or Credit
Texas Penal Code Section 32.32 governs false statements to obtain property or credit in the provision of certain services. Under section 32.32, a person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly makes a materially false or misleading written statement to obtain property or credit, including a mortgage loan. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 32.32(b). The statute was amended in 2007 and again in 2009.
The focus of the offense of “false statement to obtain property or credit” of Texas Penal Code Section 32.32 is the act of “making” a materially false statement, rather than the acquisition of property or credit. In some cases, the prosecutor does not necessarily have to prove the actual acquisition of property or credit because it is not a required element of the offense. Instead, the courts have held that the offense is complete once the written, deceptive statement relevant to obtaining property or credit is made.” See Harris v. State, 359 S.W.3d 625, 630-31 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011).
Section 32.32 has a punishment range of a class C misdemeanor to a first degree felony. See Texas Penal Code Ann. §§ 32.51(c), 32.32(c). Under section 32.32(c), the degree of the offense is based on the value of property of credit obtained.
Penalties for Identity Theft in Texas
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the standard penalties for identity theft offenses, which are listed below. These suggested punishments can increase depending on whether the alleged offender has been convicted for another felony offense, committed the offense against an elderly person, caused death or serious bodily injury to another person during the commission of the ID theft offense and/or used a weapon while committing or attempting to commit the offense.
- A conviction for a state jail felony identity theft can lead to 180 days to two years in Texas jail and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
- A felony of the third degree identity theft conviction can result in a prison sentence from two to ten years and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.
- Identity theft charges that are felonies of the second degree can result in a two to 20 year prison sentence and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- A felony of the first degree theft conviction is punishable by five to 99 years in prison or up to life in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Horak Law | Houston Identity Theft Attorney
Contact Horak Law today for a consultation about your alleged identity theft crime in Houston. Matt Horak is an experienced white collar lawyer in Houston and will make every effort to fight the charges against you.
Call Horak Law at (713) 225-8000 for a consultation about your white collar offense in Harris County and surrounding counties, including Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Waller County, Galveston County, Liberty County and Brazoria County in Texas.