A Look at Identity Theft in Texas

Understanding Identity Theft

Identity theft, a modern crime, requires an attorney who is particularly well versed in the matter. Identity theft is defined as the theft of personal identification items. These stolen items are often misused to open accounts in the name of the person from which the documents were stolen from. Documents typically stolen are Social Security numbers, passports, and personal identification cards.

ID Theft & Criminal Penalties

Identity theft is a felony, and the severity depends on how many items stolen;

  • For less than 5 items, the penalty is a state jail felony, and carries a sentence of 6 to 24 months in state prison and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.
  • If the number of items is between 5 and 9, the crime is considered a third-degree felony, and carries a sentence of 2 to 10 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If the number of items is 10 or greater, but less than 50, the crime becomes a second-degree felony, and carries a sentence of 2 to 20 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If 50 or more items were stolen, the crime becomes a first-degree felony, which carries a sentence of 5 to 99 years in state prison and/or a sentence of up to $10,000.

Types of Identity Theft

Identity theft is a complex crime. The criminal classification of Identity Theft is determined by the use of the stolen documents. Generally, Identity theft will fit into one of these 4 categories.

  1. Medical Identity theft (where stolen documents are used to obtain free medical care)
  2. Criminal Identity theft (stolen documents are used to avoid arrest, warrants, etc.)
  3. Financial Identity theft (stolen documents are used to take goods, money, or services)
  4. Child Identity theft (commonly used as a way to gain employment or residence)

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