Identity theft occurs when a person uses someone’s identification, name, address, or social security number without permission. This type of theft can occur online and offline. For instance, it is illegal to impersonate a police officer, federal officer, public official, or other federal employee. In Texas, it is also illegal to impersonate someone online.
What Is the Crime of Online Impersonation in Texas?
Online impersonation is using another individual’s persona without obtaining their consent. The impersonation is done with the intent to defraud, harm, threaten, or intimidate.
What Will the State Have to Prove to Convict Me of Impersonating Online?
The prosecutor representing the state must show the person, without consent, and with intent to use the name or persona to:
- Post and send messages via social networking websites
- Create a personal or commercial profile on a social networking site
- Create a webpage on another Internet website
Why Was I Charged with Impersonating Someone Online When I Only Wrote an Email?
A person can be charged with this offense when they send:
- Electronic mail,
- Text message,
- Instant message, or
- Other type of online communication
While using another individual’s personal information.
What Type of Personal Information Can I Get in Trouble for Using?
A person can be charged with online impersonation by using an individual’s:
- Domain address
- Phone number
- Any other identifying information
This is done without the individual’s consent and causing other people to believe the online persona belongs to the individual.
What Is the Punishment for Impersonating Someone Online in Texas?
Impersonating another person online is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by:
- About a year in county jail
- $4,000 fine
- Jail time and a fine
Can Impersonating an Individual Online be a Felony?
Yes. If a person tries solicit a response from emergency personnel, it is a third degree felony. A conviction of this type of felony can result in:
- Two to 10 years in state prison
- $10,000 fine
- Fine and state prison
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help?
Being charged with impersonating another person online is a serious criminal matter that is difficult to overcome on your own. Contact a Texas lawyer immediately to learn how to fight this charge.