For Those Charged With a Crime
Defense Against Identity Theft Charges
Protecting Your Rights From Identity Theft
Identity theft is such a pervasive problem in the United States that several companies have devoted considerable financial resources to teach us how to prevent becoming victims of this computer crime. Companies like LifeLock hire prominent Hollywood actors and actresses to introduce products that will protect our identity. Less publicized is the fact that far too many people are falsely accused of committing identity theft.
The Texas Attorney General recently released a report that showed more than 25,000 Texans fall victim to identity theft crimes every year. With a large spike in identity theft crimes, prosecutors throughout the Lone Star State have put more financial resources into the efforts to convict defendants in identity theft cases. If you have been charged with identity theft, you need to work with a Texas licensed criminal defense attorney who has successfully litigated identity theft cases.
Texas criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo will explore every possible criminal defense option for your unique identity theft case. Mr. Capetillo understands how difficult it can be when trying to deal with a crime that can result in a felony conviction. We will listen closely to what you have to say, and then develop a defense that passes the legal standard for proving your innocence.
Identity Theft in Texas
Texas Penal Code 32.51 states “a person commits identity theft if he or she obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent and with intent to harm or defraud another.” Texas law does not limit identity theft to people who are alive. State law also applies to stealing someone’s identity who is deceased. The key for an identity theft charge involves establishing identifying information, which goes well beyond stealing another person’s Social Security number.
Here are some other types of identifying information that when stolen constitutes identity theft.
- Birth Date
- Retina Scans
- Voice codes
Conviction of identity theft results in a felony that will permanently stain your personal record. The degree of felony punishment depends on how many pieces of identifying information is stolen. As the harshest sentence for an identity theft conviction, someone who steals more than 50 pieces of identifying information can receive a fine not exceeding $10,000 and a prison sentence that runs between five and 99 years.
Legal Defenses for Identity Theft Charges in Texas
With harsh penalties for an identity theft conviction, it is important to work with an experienced identity theft lawyer who knows about every possible defense form the computer crime. Let’s examine a few of the most frequently used defenses for an identity theft charge.
Let’s say you receive some mail that was intended for a neighbor. You open the mail not realizing it was sent to your neighbor’s address. Your neighbor accuses you of trying to steal some identifying information. Obviously, this is a false accusation that requires the legal skills of an accomplished identity theft attorney. Adam Capetillo will conduct a thorough investigation that includes an interview with the neighbor and the postal carrier who typically works your route.
Consent is a powerful legal defense for an identity theft charge. If someone gives you permission to use his or her identity, then you cannot be charged with the computer crime called identity theft. Permission represents a legal shield and to prove consent was given, our team of highly skilled defense attorneys will present documentation that proves you were granted permission.
Lack of Fraudulent Intent
Prosecutors do not have a case against you if they cannot prove you stole someone’s identity to perform one or more acts that are considered unlawful. If you stole another person’s identifying information, but you did not do so for an unlawful purpose, then we can demonstrate you did not commit identity theft.
Proving identity theft also requires the prosecution to demonstrate you intended to steal someone else’s identifying information to commit an unlawful act. Many times, the circumstances surrounding identity theft are not clear enough to warrant a criminal charge. Let’s say you have the same name as another sales representative working for the same company. You receive some his or her identifying information and you unknowingly use the information to conduct personal and/or professional business. You have not committed a crime.
Proving an identity theft charge usually involves seizing and searching some type of computer device. According to the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, law enforcement agencies must obtain a properly approved warrant from a judge to search anything you own or you use.
With identity theft becoming a much publicized legal issue, prosecutors across the country are coming hard after defendants. You cannot afford to put your legal fate in the hands of an inexperienced criminal defense lawyer. Highly rated criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo will fight for your rights every step of the way.