Creating an account on a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter is the way millions of people stay in touch. Used properly, social media and the Internet can be entertaining and informative, but some individuals use social media to impersonate others and post embarrassing or harmful information.
Impersonating someone online in Houston is a crime for which you can go to prison. Merely sending an email posing as someone else can lead to fines, a year in jail and a criminal record. If you are under investigation for Internet impersonation, or if you have already been arrested and charged with Internet impersonation, you need legal representation.
Texas became one of the first states to pass legislation making it a crime to impersonate someone online. Section 33.07 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a criminal offense to use the name or identity of another person with the intent of intimidating, defrauding, threatening or causing harm to someone by either of the following means:
A crime is also committed under this section of the statute if a person sends an email, text message, instant message or similar communication in a manner that makes it appear as if the communication comes from another person without first obtaining permission to do so. If the intent of the sender of the communication is to harm or defraud another person, the conduct is illegal.
Creation of a website or social media page to impersonate and cause harm to another person is a felony of the third degree in Texas. The punishment can be a maximum of 20 years in prison with a 2-year minimum sentence. The sentencing judge in the case can also order the convicted person to pay a fine up to $10,000.
Sending emails, instant messages or text messages as someone else is a class A misdemeanor under the statute. At sentencing, a judge can impose a jail sentence of up to one year and order the payment of a $4,000 fine.
If you have been accused of impersonating someone online, then schedule an appointment with Rand Mintzer at 713-862-8880.