Identity Theft

Houston Identity Theft Attorney

The rate of identity theft crimes has increased dramatically as more and more people store their personal information online. Whether this information is financial records, bank account information or passwords, identity thieves can potentially access it. There are many forms that an identity theft crime can take. For example, some people will search discarded documents and trash that an unsuspecting homeowner has thrown out. If this material contains sensitive documents containing personal information, the information may be used to steal an identity. There are many more forms of this crime that are much more elaborate in nature, and the penalties for these crimes are increasingly severe.

Penalties for Identity Theft

There are many legal consequences for identity theft. These penalties can be amplified if the alleged guilty party has a previous criminal record, if any other felonies were committed along with the theft or if the target of the crime was an elderly person. Some of the possible penalties for this crime include:

  • A period of incarceration from 180 days to two years in jail for a state jail felony conviction. For a third-degree felony conviction, the incarceration period increases to two to 10 years. First-degree felony identity theft can send a person to prison for five to 99 years.
  • A fine of up to $10,000 for each felony conviction. This does not include court-mandated restitution that must be paid to the victims of the crime to help them recover some of their financial losses.
  • The loss of rights that affect daily life. Felony convictions, whether they include a prison term or not, prevent the convicted person from engaging in certain activities. This could include the loss of voting rights, the loss of the right to possess firearms and denial of welfare and government assistance.
  • A denial of expunction or non-disclosure. In nearly every state, felony convictions are not possible to remove from an individual’s criminal history. A felony conviction for identity theft will remain on a person’s record for life. This remains true even if the person successfully completes their prison sentence and is placed on parole or probation.

Call a Houston Identity Fraud Lawyer

Although a legal defense against identity theft charges may be difficult, an experienced identity theft attorney will understand the most important pieces of an effective defense. For example, the laws governing the collection of evidence in cases of this type are extremely precise and strict. An improperly gathered piece of evidence can be disallowed from use by the prosecution, and their entire case could fall apart.

To learn more about identity theft charges, call Gary S. Miller at 713-866-6233 to schedule a free appointment.