Did you know that identity theft is one of the most severe white-collar crimes in the state of Texas? The act of taking another’s identity to perpetrate fraud is classified as a felony offense. Lawmakers in the state take a harsh stance against identity theft by imposing several life-changing consequences.
The reason prosecutors approach identity theft harshly is that the offense can harm businesses in addition to individuals. For example, using a stolen identity to purchase goods or services harms the store owner and the person who lost their identity.
Penalties for identity theft
The consequences you face upon conviction of identity theft depend upon the number of items possessed, obtained or transferred. The more you take, the more penalties you will incur:
- Less than five items is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years of incarceration and (or) fines of up to $10,000.
- Between five and nine items is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years of incarceration and (or) fines of up to $10,000.
- Between ten and forty-nine items is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years of incarceration and (or) fines of up to $10,000.
- Fifty or more items is a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years of incarceration and (or) fines of up to $10,000.
Unfortunately, effective defenses against this type of white-collar crime are few and often hard to prove on your own. However, if you act quickly, you and your criminal defense lawyer can build a satisfactory defense to protect you against the harshest consequences. On the other hand, if you do nothing, prosecutors will likely use the full force of the law to achieve a conviction.