Defense of charge: Fraudulent ID, Montgomery County TX
Result: Case Dismissed
My client was accused of possessing and using fraudulent identification for financial benefits. Possession of fraudulent identification can present several problems, especially when you are in one of the most conservative counties in Texas. This case presented even more challenges because there were immigration issues involved. My client was accused of misrepresenting her identity for financial benefits while employed at a business – specifically, my client was using another person’s identification (Texas driver’s license, social security number) for work documents. This was a state jail felony and my client was facing possible deportation.
In Texas, fraudulent use or possession of identifying information under Texas Penal Code § 32.51 prohibits a person from obtaining, possessing, transferring, or using an item of identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent with the intent to harm or defraud another, Tex. Penal Code Ann.
Under Texas Penal Code 32.51, “identifying information” is information that identifies a person, whether used alone or with other information. It can include information about:
- A person’s name and date of birth
- A person’s biometric data, including their fingerprint, voice print, or iris image
- A person’s electronic identification number and financial information
- A person’s telecommunication access device such as account number, PIN, and electronic serial number.
- A person’s social security number
In Texas, this is a state jail felony. As a felony, they belong to the most severe type of criminal offense. However, state jail felonies are the least severe of all felonies. The penalties of a conviction can still be significant. Punishment can carry between jail time of 180 days and two years, and fines can be up to $10,000.
My client wanted to find employment. She was accused of going to a local person who sold fake identification and purchasing fake social security numbers, fake Texas driver’s license and other information that did not belong to her.
Montgomery County is a very difficult county to practice in and it is important to hire a lawyer that understands the dynamic of the District Attorney’s Office.
Hypothetically, when defending a case where it might be difficult to defend the facts against your client, it is important to explain to the prosecutor the big picture. Prosecutors see several cases every day and it is important for an experienced criminal defense attorney to explain why this case is different and deserves a dismissal. For example, if my client had obtained someone else’s identity, she was doing so only to work and provide for her family. Possibly, she had kids, and the company she wanted to work for would not hire her unless she had identification.
We were lucky that the prosecutor, in this case, looked at the big picture and dismissed the case. However, once a case is dismissed, it is important to get an expunction that it can be cleared from your record.
Ultimately, after several court settings, this case was dismissed.