Texas Identity Theft Laws

Like many states, Texas has developed identity theft laws that punish a number of activities that involve the fraudulent use of another's identity. Penalties are severe and can include a significant amount of prison time and large fines.

The following chart provides an overview of Texas identity theft laws, potential defenses, and possible penalties for a conviction:

Statute Texas Identity Theft Statute (Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 32, Section 32.51 -- Scroll down to the section on fraudulent use or possession of identifying information)
The Crime of Identity Theft

The crime of identity theft includes obtaining, possessing, or using the identity of another individual -- regardless of whether they are living or dead and regardless of their age (infant, minor, adult or elderly) -- with the intent to harm or defraud someone. Under the law, the defendant will be presumed to have had the intent to harm or defraud another person if he or she possesses the identifying information of three or more people, living or dead.

See FindLaw's Fraud and Financial Crimes to learn about related charges.

Defenses
  • Lack of intent to deceive or harm another individual
  • Mistake of fact (e.g. the defendant did not obtain or possess the identity of another individual)
  • Age (Minors may receive lighter punishments under the law if convicted.)
Penalties and Sentences

The crime of identity theft is a felony. The severity of the felony depends on how many items were obtained, possessed or transferred by the defendant:

  • If the number of items is less than five, the penalty is a state jail felony, which carries a sentence of 180 days to two years in a state prison and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.
  • If the number of items is between five and nine, the penalty is a third degree felony, which carries a sentence of two to ten years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If the number of items is between ten and forty-nine, the penalty is a second degree felony, which carries a sentence of two to twenty years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If the number of items is fifty or more, the penalty is a first degree felony, which carries a sentence of five to ninety-nine years in a state prison and/or a sentence of up to $10,000.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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A conviction for identity theft in Texas could have serious repercussions and can involve complicated issues relating to evidence and procedure. Professional assistance can help ensure that you present an effective defense. Contact a local attorney for a free initial case assessment to learn how they can help.

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