Texas computer crime lawyer Explains Identity Theft Crimes
Dallas Texas computer crime lawyer John Helms Explains - Under Texas law, identity theft can be prosecuted under a few specific statutes.
Online shopping has become so prevalent that Americans spend about $7 billion on Cyber Monday alone. As more and more people turn to online commerce, it seems that the so-called retail apocalypse will continue.
The internet has changed just about every area of life, including shopping. However you feel about the social shift to online shopping, there’s no denying that internet retailers continue to commandeer a huge portion of sales of consumer goods.
You might be able to score a great deal during the big Cyber Monday sale, but you could also be putting yourself at greater risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. According to Experian, 43 percent of holiday shopping identity theft occurs online, and 16 percent of identity theft victims have their identities stolen on Cyber Monday.
This has caused state and federal authorities to start taking cyber crimes like identity theft very seriously. If you’re charged with a computer theft crime in Texas, you can expect to face prosecution. If you’ve been accused of identity theft under Texas law, it’s important to consult with a Texas computer crime defense lawyer.
Identity Theft Under Texas Law
Under Texas law, identity theft can be prosecuted under a few specific statutes. An individual can be charged with the “unauthorized acquisition or transfer of certain financial information” or “fraudulent use or possession of identifying information.”
If an individual accesses another person’s financial information without that person’s consent or permission, they can be charged under Texas law. Behaviors that might lead to an identity theft charge can include things like stealing someone’s credit card, copying down their bank account number, or taking their debit cards.
It’s also a crime to steal another person’s information. This is a crime that can go beyond just taking a debit or credit card number. Some internet thieves hunt for personal information, including their birth date, driver’s license number, or social security number. Armed with this kind of information, they might be able to sign up for credit cards or other services under that person’s name.
Taking someone else’s financial or personal information without their consent for the purpose of committing fraud can result in an identity theft charge under Texas law.
There are other types of fraud that can be carried out over the internet. For example, an individual might be charged with forgery if they use someone else’s credit card and forge the person’s signature.
The Consequences of an Identity Theft Charge
If you’ve been charged with an identity theft offense under Texas law, you could be facing a misdemeanor, felony, or a combination of both types of charges.
Depending on the charges, you could face a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. If you’re convicted of a Class A misdemeanor you could face a maximum one-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $4,000.
In more serious cases, you might be charged with a felony. The consequences of a felony charge of identity theft typically turn on how much monetary damage was inflicted and how many victims were involved.
Under Texas law, there are several different types of felonies, and each has its own penalties depending on the severity of the charges involved:
- State jail felony – Individuals convicted of a state jail felony crime can spend up to two years in prison and be ordered to pay a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
- First-degree felony – A person charged with a first-degree felony for identity theft can be ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines and may spend anywhere between five and 99 years in prison.
In recent years, prosecutors in Texas have shown they’re willing to pursue identity thieves aggressively. In one recent case, a man was charged with four counts of identity theft-related charges involving multiple victims. As a result, he faces a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
Police departments have also become more computer savvy. Today, they often have the tools and expertise to track down individuals who have engaged in computer crimes, including identity theft.
Defending Against an Identity Theft Allegation
If you have been charged with identity theft, it’s important to defend your legal rights. The prosecution must be able to prove that you intended to commit fraud and that you intended to do so by misusing someone’s financial or personal information. If the prosecution can’t prove this, they can’t secure a conviction.
An identity theft charge can put your entire life on hold and have an impact on your future. If you’re facing any kind of internet theft charge, it’s in your best interest to discuss your case with a Texas computer crime lawyer.
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case.