Credit/Debit Card Fraud
Fraudulent use or possession of another person’s credit or debit card information is one of the most common white-collar crimes committed in the state of Texas. However, that doesn’t mean the statutory penalties are light for credit or debit card fraud. In fact, illegally using or possessing another’s credit or debit information without their consent can be charged as a felony, which means you could be facing time in prison.
It’s important to note the prosecution isn’t required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you had the physical card on you. They only need to prove at trial that you had identifying information linked to another’s credit or debit card without their consent. The low threshold to convict means you should secure legal representation right away if you’ve been charged with credit or debit card fraud. Hiring an experienced and skilled attorney who can poke holes in the prosecution’s argument can save you from years in prison and outstanding fines.
Credit Card Fraud Houston Defense Attorney in Texas
If you’ve been charged with credit or debit card fraud, it’s important you secure legal representation quickly. The penalties for fraudulent use of another’s credit or debit card are incredibly serious and can result in prison time. So, the faster you start building your defense the better chances you have at avoiding the statutory penalties.
Attorney Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm is dedicated to defending his clients. He’s represented people from all backgrounds of various types of crimes ranging from violent offenses to extensive financial schemes. With over 30 years of practice in the field, attorney Benken understands what it takes to protect his client’s freedom.
Call (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation free of charge. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area and throughout all parts of Texas including The Heights, Houston, Braeswood Place, Sunnyside, River Oaks and Midtown.
Overview of Credit and Debit Card Fraud
- Legal Definitions for Credit or Debit Card Fraud
- What is the Definition of Credit Card Abuse in Texas?
- Is Credit Card Fraud a Felony in Texas?
- Additional Resources
Legal Definitions for Credit or Debit Card Fraud
There are several definitions you should know before you can learn more about the penalties for credit or debit card fraud. One of these includes the term “credit card” itself, which means any card, plate, coupon, book or number that authorizes a person to obtain property or services on credit. It also includes the number and description of the device if the device itself is not produced at the time of ordering or obtaining the property or service.
Another term to know is “debit card,” which is defined as any card, plate, coupon, book or number that authorizes a designated person or account holder to request cash from an unmanned teller machine, customer convivence terminal, or other property or services by debit from a bank.
In some cases, a credit or debit card case will involve a “digital imprint” being stolen. The term “digital imprint” refers to any digital data placed on a credit, debit or counterfeit card. The card is considered counterfeit by the court if it exhibits one of the following factors.
- The card purports on its face to have been issued by an issuer that didn’t assign the card;
- Altered to contain a digital imprint other than what was originally placed by the issuer
- Contains a digital imprint with account information or account holder information that differs from the information that is printed or embossed on the card; or
- Altered to change the account information or holder information without consent
What Is the Definition of Credit Card Abuse in Texas?
To convict you of credit or debit card fraud, the prosecution must prove certain elements to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements can be found under Texas Penal Code Section 32.315, which state a person is guilty of credit or debit card fraud if with intent to harm or defraud another possesses, obtains, transfers or uses one of the following:
- A counterfeit credit or debit card;
- Data stored on a digital imprint of a credit or debit card without the consent of the account holder; or
- The number and expiration date of a credit or debit card without the consent of the account holder
The court will have the rebuttable presumption that the defendant has possessed the credit/debit card information without the account holder’s consent if it’s proven at trial the defendant possessed five or more different credit or debit cards belonging to other people. The defendant doesn’t need to physically possess the cards for the court to prove this. All the prosecution needs to prove is that the defendant possessed or once possessed their credit or debit card information.
Is Credit or Debit Card Fraud a Felony in Texas?
Victims of identity theft and fraud often face serious financial issues and distress after they’ve been preyed upon. To deter offenders, the state of Texas has implemented harsh penalties upon conviction for credit or debit card fraud. Sentencing for credit and debit card fraud ultimately depend on the facts of the case and how many numbers of identifying items the offender used, possessed, transferred or obtains. If the number of card information obtained or used was less than five items, then the crime will be charged as a state jail felony. The maximum punishment for a state jail felony includes the following:
- Up to 2 years in state jail; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
If the number of items is more than five but less than 10, then the crime is charged as a third-degree felony. The maximum sentencing for a third-degree felony are:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
If the number of items is 10 or mor, but less than 50, then the offender will face a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by:
- Up to 20 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
The offender will face a first-degree felony if the prosecution proves they owned or possessed 50 or more items of identifying credit or debit card information. The maximum penalties for a first-degree felony include up to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, offenders convicted of credit or debit card fraud are likely court ordered to pay restitution costs to the victim for any lost income or expenses other than attorney’s fees.
Credit and Debit Card Theft and Protection – Visit the official website for Ken Paxton, Texas’s Attorney General of Texas. Access the site to learn more about how scammers obtain credit card information, tips for people with missing or stolen information and resources for victims.
Texas Laws for Fraud – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about fraud such as possessing or using another person’s credit or debit card information. Learn the penalties, defenses and elements of the crime as well as other related fraud offenses.
Attorney for Credit Card Abuse in Houston, Texas
Have you been accused of credit or debit card abuse? If so, then it’s imperative you stay silent with law enforcement and start building your legal defense right away with The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm is a reputable attorney with over 30 years of experience on both the prosecutorial and defense side of the courtroom. His in-depth knowledge on how the prosecution works as well as his extensive practice experience makes attorney Benken an exceptional defense attorney.
You can get in contact with The Benken Law Firm by calling (713) 223 - 4051. From there, we can set up your first consultation free of charge. At the consultation attorney Brian Benken will review your case and disclose to you all your legal options. You can find attorney Brian Benken’s office in Houston, but he practices throughout all areas of Harris County and the state of Texas.