Online Impersonation Defense
Houston Online Impersonation Lawyers :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
Internet impersonation has been a growing problem in recent years, which is why the state of Texas passed a law against it in 2009. Section 33.07 of the Texas Penal Code identifies the crime of impersonating someone online as happening when someone creates a web page or posts or send messages while using the identify of another. In order for this to be a crime, it must happen:
- Without that individual’s consent
- With the intent to “harm defraud, intimidate, or threaten” the individual being impersonated
In addition, it is also a crime to threaten, harass or stalk another person using email or social media, even when not claiming his or her identity. These crimes are not considered impersonation, but could nonetheless be chargeable offenses under Texas law.
The crime of impersonating someone online is a third degree felony in Houston. The punishment for this crime can include:
- Between two and twenty years in state prison
- Fine of up to $10,000
This crime could also be related to other charges if the act involves fraud or deception, which means that individuals who are charged with impersonation could find themselves facing significant jail time and penalties.
Defending the Charges
The state of Texas will be unable to bring charges unless they can prove they have jurisdiction over the accused. This means that if the crime originated outside the Lone Star State, Texas law may not apply. As time goes by, this could no longer be a valid defense if more states elect to enact similar laws. In addition, the prosecution will need to show there was intent to defraud or embarrass an individual, or that the acts of the defendant actually caused harm to another. When a case is built largely around eyewitness testimony, the fact that an individual actually committed these acts can often be disputed heavily enough to raise reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors.
Assistance From an Internet Impersonation Lawyer
If you have been accused of internet impersonation, your life is about to become very difficult. The U.S. legal system can be very demanding and failure to properly defend yourself could lead you to a twenty year sentence in a state prison. With professional legal counsel, your burdens can be significantly reduced.
Call The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp to schedule a free legal consultation.