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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Being charged with identity theft can be frightening. Attempting to navigate the legal system and fight the charges on your own can be an overwhelming prospect. Without advice from a legal professional, you may be unsure what strategy to use in your defense or how to collect favorable evidence. Fortunately, an Amarillo identify theft lawyer could provide sound advice and skilled representation.
Amarillo Identity Theft Laws
Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 32, identity theft is a form of fraud. The Texas Attorney General’s office describes this offense as a form of theft involving the use or sale of an individual’s personal identifying information without that person’s consent. Examples of personal identifying information include:
- Date of birth
- Home/mailing address
- Social security number
- Driver’s license number
- Mother’s maiden name
- Credit card number
- Bank account number
- Fingerprints or other biometric data
Using another person’s information without permission to apply for credit, open a new bank account, or make collect calls are all forms of identity theft. An attorney for identity theft in Amarillo could answer specific questions about identity theft laws in Amarillo.
How an Identity Theft Attorney Could Help
Hiring an identity theft lawyer in Amarillo could help a defendant in several ways. A knowledgeable lawyer could explain the specific charges a person is facing, how the law applies to the case, and the potential penalties upon conviction.
A lawyer could also provide legal representation and advocate for the accused throughout the entire legal process. An Amarillo identity theft lawyer with experience in the local courts may be in the best position to negotiate with prosecutors or poke holes in their case.
Potential Penalties for an Identity Theft Conviction
The offense of identity theft is categorized as a felony in Amarillo and throughout the entire state of Texas. The specific potential penalties, however, vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense. For example, theft of fewer than five forms of personal identifying information is classified as a state jail felony, while theft of fifty or more pieces of information is classified as a felony in the first degree.
The penalty for a state jail felony conviction is a term of two years or less in a state jail and a possible fine, while the penalty for a first-degree felony conviction is a prison sentence of at least five years and a possible fine. For all identity theft convictions, the court may also the defendant to pay restitution to the alleged victim.
Certain aggravating circumstances can increase the level of an offense to the next category. An example of such a situation is committing identity theft against an elderly person. In such a case, even if fewer than five forms of personal identifying information were stolen, the charges would be elevated from a state jail felony to a third-degree felony.
An Amarillo identity theft attorney could answer specific questions about Texas identity theft laws and further explain the possible penalties.
Talk to an Amarillo Identity Theft Lawyer Today
Do not attempt to fight identity theft charges on your own. Navigating the complex legal system can be confusing, and facing the court on your own can be intimidating. By hiring an Amarillo identify theft lawyer, you could have someone on your side to advocate for you and fight for your interests. Call today to discuss your case.