Failure to Identify Charges in Fort Worth
Have you been arrested and charged for Failure to Identify in Fort Worth or surrounding city in Tarrant County, Texas? If you are facing prosecution for the crime of Failure to Identify, it is critical to your freedom to find an experienced criminal lawyer that has a proven track record of dealing with failure to identify cases in Tarrant County.
Texas Penal Code Regarding Failure to Identify
According to Texas Penal Code, Title 8: Offenses Against Public Administration, Chapter 38: Obstructing Governmental Operation, Section 38.02.
If you are facing a charge of Fail to ID, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will be required to prove the following elements of Failure to Identify beyond a reasonable doubt:
- A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.
- A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:
- lawfully arrested the person.
- lawfully detained the person; or
- requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense.
The Texas Penal Code states that if the alleged failure to identify involves failing to give a name, address, or date of birth after a valid arrest, the crime is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. Under Texas criminal law, a Class C misdemeanor is punishable only by a fine of up to $500 with no possibility of jail time.
The Texas Penal Code states that if the alleged failure to identify involves a citizen intentionally giving a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person, lawfully detained the person or requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense, then the crime is classified as a Class B misdemeanor.
Under Texas criminal law, a Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by a term in the Tarrant County jail of up to 180 days and up to a $2,000 fine.
The Texas Penal Code states that if you intentionally give a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person, lawfully detained the person or requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense and the arrestee had an active warrant at the time of the offense, then the crime will be classified as a Class A misdemeanor. In other words, if the Tarrant County prosecutor can prove in court that the charged citizen had an active warrant and was classified as a “fugitive from justice at the time of the offense,” then the crime of Failure to Identify will be punished as a Class A misdemeanor.
Under Texas criminal law, a Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in the Tarrant County jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Fines and Penalties If Convicted of Failure to Identify Charges
The crime of Failure to Identify does not look like a big deal. Someone lied about their name or date of birth, right? Who cares! However, Texas criminal law makes it clear that lying or misrepresenting your name, date of birth or address to a police officer can come with severe short-term and long-term consequences.
For example, if you fail to hire an experienced and aggressive Fort Worth criminal defense attorney to defend you, a conviction could land you a jail sentence of up to 1 year and up to a $4,000 fine. You do not want to lose your freedom or severely damage your reputation and limit your opportunity to obtain or retain employment. It is important to fight for your freedom and reputation by hiring an aggressive criminal attorney that knows the courts in Tarrant County and is willing to do what it takes to protect your clean record.
Criminal Defenses To The Crime Of Fail To ID
If you are facing the crime of failure to identify, you need to thoroughly review your evidence and being preparing a defense to the charges. Let us examine some common defenses that may be effective at getting your Failure to identify case dismissed.
No Criminal Intent
The Tarrant County prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally gave a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who lawfully arrested you. What if you made an honest mistake?
We have seen this situation come up multiple times in criminal cases. A police officer asks for someone’s name and date of birth. The client provides the exact date of birth and last name but reverses the middle and first name because his common name that everyone calls him is by his middle name. Technically, all the information he provided to the police officer was correct but part of it was in the wrong order. Should there be a charge for failure to identify? Arguably, NO! The State of Texas would have a tough time proving the element of criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact, this is a good scenario where your criminal defense attorney should be pushing for a dismissal of the fail to id charges.
Legally, voluntary intoxication is never a defense to a crime in Texas. However, what if a Fort Worth police officer approaches someone coming from the 7th Street area and realizes they have had a few drinks at the bar and believes they are intoxicated. If the individual is intoxicated, they do not have the normal use of their mental and/or physical faculties. If the officer asks the person their name, date of birth and address and some of it comes out confusing or inaccurate, should they be charged with failure to identify. Probably so. Should they be convicted or allowed to have this charge on their permanent criminal record? No!
Your criminal attorney should fight hard in this factual situation to attempt to negotiate a dismissal. Police officers sometimes take advantage of someone who is intoxicated by looking for any minor deviation in the information that is provided to them to justify bringing a charge of failure to identify. Think about it: a public intoxication is only a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. However, a failure to identify charge is much more serious and provides the police officer to get a judge to set a higher bond and have the accused face more dire consequences.
Unlawful Arrest or Detention
To be convicted of the crime of Fail to ID, the State of Texas must prove that you intentionally gave a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person or
lawfully detained the person. What if the police officer unlawfully detained you or arrested you?
For example, what if a police officer pulls over your vehicle, approaches you, and starts asking you questions and pulls you out of the car and places you in handcuffs and demands you provide your name, date of birth and address? What if there is confusion regarding what you said and now you are facing a failure to identify charge? We must look at the reason the police officer pulled you over. Did he have reasonable suspicion to pull you over during the traffic stop? If not, you have a valid defense. What if the officer unlawfully arrested you? If the police officer did not have probable cause to establish a crime occurred, any information that subsequently led to a failure to identify arrest would be inadmissible in a criminal court.
Can A Failure To Identify Case Be Dismissed?
It is possible to resolve a failure to identify case for a dismissal under certain circumstances. At The Hampton Law Firm, we find that the criminal charge of failure to identify can be dismissed with a first-time offender in the following ways:
- Dismissal For Lack Of Evidence – the number one way your criminal lawyer should look to get your failure to identify case dismissed is based upon the fact the State of Texas has insufficient evidence to prove the charge. Remember, you have no burden to prove anything. The prosecutor always has the burden to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Your criminal defense attorney should analyze the police reports and digital media evidence with you and break down the weaknesses in the case and use it as leverage in negotiations to argue there is insufficient evidence to prove the crime.
- Conditional Dismissal – what if you did commit the crime of fail to id? What if the evidence looks bad for you? Is there a way to get it dismissed? If you are a first-time offender, your criminal attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor to work out a conditional dismissal. In exchange for you completing a class, community service hours or donation to a charity, the prosecutor will dismiss your case. This gives the prosecutor of receiving proof that you have done something to “learn your lesson,” in exchange for you getting your failure to identify case dismissed and eligible to have removed from your criminal record.
- Diversion Program Dismissal – if your failure to identify case originated out of Tarrant County, Texas, and you are a first-time youthful offender, you may qualify for a diversion program. A diversion program is an option that takes the criminal case out of the court system and provides that if you do not pick up new criminal offenses and maintain employment or school attendance, at the end of the time period of the program (as short as four months), your fail to id case will be dismissed and you will be eligible to have your failure to identify case immediately expunged from your criminal record.
How Do I Get My Failure To Identify Case Off My Criminal Record?
It is a common misconception that once your Fail to ID case is dismissed, your criminal record is cleared. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The arrest and case records will remain on your criminal record UNLESS you file to have your charges expunged under Texas law.
If your case is dismissed by a Diversion Program, there is NOT waiting period and you are eligible for an immediate expunction to have the entire arrest and court records destroyed. This allows you to deny that the arrest and charge every took place. However, if your charge was dismissed by conditional dismissal or dismissal due to insufficient evidence, you will be required to wait the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor offense in Texas. For a Fail to ID charge, the statute of limitations would be two years from the date of the dismissal. This can sound confusing, which is why it is critical to speak with an experienced criminal attorney with a track record of helping people clear their criminal records.
At The Hampton Law Firm, you can work with an experienced and aggressive team of criminal defense lawyers that have experience as former Tarrant County Prosecutors and have over 80 years of criminal law experience helping citizens of Fort Worth, Texas and Tarrant County, Texas.
We will aggressively and tirelessly to defend you from a conviction and look to negotiate the best possible outcome we can.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Jeff Hampton Today
Call The Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation and an opportunity to speak to me about the facts of your case and the options you have under Texas law. Call Jeff Hampton at The Hampton Law Firm at 817-826-9905.
Contact the Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation to determine your rights and legal options.