In Texas, it is illegal to use or possess another person’s identifying information. Those convicted of fraudulent use or possession of identifying information in Texas face criminal penalties, such as jail time, fines, or community service. Penalties vary depending on the offender’s criminal record and on the number of times the offender possessed, obtained, or used the identifying information. If you have been arrested for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible so these charges do not ruin both your professional life and your personal life.
What are the penalties for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information?
The penalties for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information become more severe with each instance of the crime. Penalties differ depending on the number of pieces of identifying information the offender possessed, used, or obtained.
Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information is a felony.
If less than five pieces of identifying information are at issue, the crime is a state jail felony. Such a crime is punishable by a jail term of between 180 days and 2 years.
If the offender used, obtained, or possessed between 5 and 10 pieces of identifying information, the crime is a third degree felony. The offender may face between 2 and 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
If between 10 and 50 pieces of identifying information were obtained, possessed, or used by the offender, the crime is a second degree felony. Those convicted may be sentenced to a prison term of between 2 and 20 years and may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
Finally, if at least 50 pieces of identifying information were obtained, possessed, or used, the crime is a first degree felony. A prison sentence of between 5 and 99 years may be ordered, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
What is identifying information?
According to Texas Penal Code Section 32.51, “identifying information” includes information that:
- Includes someone’s name and date of birth;
- Possesses biometric data, such as a fingerprint;
- Possesses financial information;
- Contains a social security number; or
- Contains telecommunication identifying information or an access device.
Criminal defense attorneys are trained to handle these claims and determine whether identifying information was actually used, possessed, or obtained by the accused individual. If the information does not meet the statute’s definition, the charges may be reduced or even dismissed.
The state must prove that the offender actually had the intent to harm or defraud the owner of the identifying information. However, such intent will be presumed if the offender possessed the information of at least three other people (including three or more deceased people).
How can an attorney help?
Criminal defense attorneys are experienced in all types of claims. These attorneys examine all evidence to determine if it actually meets the elements of a crime. In addition, criminal defense attorneys study the facts of the claim to make sure the defendant’s constitutional rights were protected before, during, and after the arrest. Without a criminal defense attorney, someone accused of a crime may provide damaging evidence, such as statements, in a case. Doing so may result in jail time the offender may have been able to avoid.
Contact the Hamtpon Eppes Law Group today
Brian Eppes and Jeff Hampton are former prosecutors who vigorously defends their clients. Mr. Eppes knows the Texas criminal justice system and is dedicated to protecting his clients’ legal rights. To schedule a free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalroup.com.