What Penalties Can I Face for Texas Credit Card Fraud?

person holding different credit cards

Since their inception, credit cards have become a staple in many people’s wallets, as they offer greater protection than using a debit card, as they are not linked directly to the funds in your checking account. However, this does not mean that credit card fraud is taken lightly. If you are accused of this crime, it’s in your best interest to connect with a Houston white collar crimes defense attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options. Keep reading to learn more about this offense and what you should know about these complex matters.

What Constitutes Credit Card Fraud?

When people think of fraud, they often think of elaborate schemes and complex plans. However, this is not always the case. As such, you can be charged with credit card fraud if any of the following apply:

  • Stealing someone else’s credit card with the intent to sell or give it to someone else
  • Using someone’s card without their possession
  • Forcing the card’s owner to make a purchase they cannot afford
  • Using a fake or fraudulent card
  • Receiving benefits (cash back, points, etc) from a stolen card
  • Taking a card with the intent to use it
  • Purchasing a credit card from someone who is not the owner

What Are the Consequences of This Offense?

If you are charged with credit card fraud in Texas, you can face a litany of charges for your involvement in the crime. Generally, this is always charged as a state jail felony. The only exception to this is if you commit the crime against a senior citizen, in which the offense is raised to a third-degree felony.

As such, if you are charged with a state jail felony, you’ll face a minimum of six months in a state jail facility with the potential of up to two years. Additionally, you will pay a maximum fine of $10,000. If your crime is charged as a third-degree felony, you’ll face anywhere between two and ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

What Potential Defenses Can I Utilize?

If you have been charged with credit card fraud, it’s important to understand the potential defenses that you may be able to use with assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Generally, the most common defense is to prove that you had permission to use the card. If you can prove that the other party permitted you to use the card, you may be able to avoid charges as you had consent to make a purchase using the information.

Additionally, you may be able to prove a lack of intent. For example, you find a credit card on the street intending to turn it in to the police so it can be returned to the owner. However, if the person who lost it sees you pick it up on security footage when re-tracing their steps, they may accuse you of fraud. They would have to prove you intended to use the card, which can be very difficult.

Regardless, it’s imperative to connect with an experienced attorney from the Gonzalez Law Group if you are facing criminal charges. Our dedicated and competent legal team understands that facing a state jail felony can be incredibly overwhelming, which is why we are committed to fighting for you. Connect with us today to discuss your circumstances further.