Credit card fraud and abuse is a serious problem in the U.S. In response, many states, Texas included, have adopted laws that specifically address credit card fraud.
Credit Card Fraud Information Center
What Is Considered Credit Card Fraud in Houston?
According to Texas state law, a person commits credit card fraud if, with the intent to obtain a benefit fraudulently, they present or use a credit card or debit card with knowledge that:
- The card, whether or not expired, has not been issued to them and is not being used with the effective consent of the cardholder; or
- The card has expired or has been revoked or canceled; and
- They’re using a fictitious credit card or debit card or the pretended number or description of a fictitious card;
In addition, a person could also be charged with credit card fraud in Houston if they:
- Are in possession of a card that doesn’t belong to them
- Benefit from an act of credit card fraud
- Obtain a credit card using stolen information
- Attempt to sell a stolen credit or debit card
If you’re convicted of credit card fraud in Harris County, you’ll probably be charged with a state jail felony — up to $10,000 in fines and up to 2 years in a state jail if convicted. If the credit card fraud was committed against an elderly person, the charges could be bumped up to felony of the third degree — up to $10,000 in fines and 2 to 10 years in state prison if convicted.
Other Types of Credit Fraud in Texas
In Texas, other types of credit fraud can include:
- Fraudulent use or possession of credit card or debit card information
- Using false information to obtain property or credit or certain services
- Hindering secured creditors
- Fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle
- Credit card transaction record laundering
Charges for these crimes can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree depending on the amount of money involved or the number of items purchased.
Defenses Against Credit Card Fraud Charges in Houston
If you’re facing credit card fraud charges in Houston, it’s important to take steps to protect your rights. In addition to fines and jail time, a conviction for credit card fraud will remain on your permanent record. This could make it difficult for you to get a job, find a place to live, or get credit.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss is a Houston credit card fraud lawyer with extensive experience representing clients facing all types of theft charges in Houston and Harris County. A former County D.A. turned defense attorney, Lisa knows how prosecutors think, giving her a big advantage when it comes to protecting her clients.
Lisa can help you fight back against charges of credit card fraud. For instance, in order for you to be found guilty of credit card fraud, prosecutors must prove that you intentionally meant to use the credit or debit card in a fraudulent manner. Possible defense strategies can include:
- You didn’t know you were using someone else’s card.
- You thought that you had the cardholder’s permission to use the card.
- You were in possession of a card that didn’t belong to you, but you had no intention of using it to defraud someone.
Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Card Fraud Charges
There are several strategies that an attorney may use to defend against credit card fraud charges in Texas. One approach may be to challenge the evidence that the prosecution has against you. This could include questioning the accuracy or reliability of the evidence, or arguing that the police lacked probable cause. You may also qualify for a pre-trial diversion program, in which you enter into a contract with the D.A. that lays out a plan for community service, anti-theft classes and other possible conditions.
Every case is different, and the strategies that will be effective depend on the specific circumstances of your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action to take.
In Texas, enhanced sentencing may be applied in credit card fraud cases in which the defendant has prior convictions. This means that the sentencing guidelines, fines and jail time may be increased if you’ve been convicted of similar crimes in the past.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for credit card fraud cases is five years. This means that a person facing these charges must be indicted by the court within five years from the date that the crime occurred in order for criminal prosecution to proceed.
Get in Touch With Houston Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss
If you’ve been charged with credit card fraud in Houston, Lisa Shapiro Strauss is here to protect your rights. Lisa has represented clients charged with all types of misdemeanor and felony theft charges, including credit card fraud.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss is based in Bellaire, Texas, and represents clients throughout the Houston and Harris County area. Call the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss at (713) 429-7310 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.