Identity theft is a crime that has made a lot of headlines, in Texas and around the country,
in recent years. The crime can cover everything from an individual using
their roommate's credit card without their permission, to the theft
of data regarding tens of thousands of people from a major retailer.
Texas Penal Code, an individual commits identity theft when they obtain, use or possess
an item of identifying information that belongs to another person, with
the intent to defraud or harm another person. Identifying information
is defined in the law to include such things as names and dates of birth,
social security numbers, bank account numbers and ATM PINs. Merely possessing
another person's identifying information is not in itself identity
theft; there must also be the intent to use that information to harm or
defraud. Such intent is presumed if the defendant is in possession of
identifying information belonging to three or more people.
It does not matter if the person whose identifying information was taken
is living or dead. If the identifying information belongs to a person
under the age of 18, the fact they consented to give it to you is not
in itself a defense to an identity theft charge, although it might show
the absence of the necessary intent to harm or defraud.
Identity theft carries severe penalties under Texas law. The penalties
increase with the number of items of personal information obtained or
possessed by the defendant. As with other
theft crimes, including robbery, shoplifting, and possession of stolen property, defenses
are available. If you have been charged with identity theft, an experienced
Texas criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights.
Source: Tex. Penal Code Â§ 32.51