June 27, 2022

Legislatures and law enforcement in Texas take fraud charges seriously. That’s especially true for individuals accused of credit card theft. According to Texas Penal Code § 32.31, an individual can be charged with debit or credit card abuse if they commit the following, but not limited to: 

  • Intentionally using someone else’s credit or debit card without permission 
  • Using a fake card to obtain goods or services
  • Receiving benefits from a stolen debit or credit card
  • Debit or credit card theft with the intent to use, sell or transfer it to another person
  • Forcing another person to use their card to purchase something they can’t afford  
  • Possessing someone else’s financial card with the intent to use it 

If you’ve been arrested for credit card theft in Texas, you need a Houston credit card fraud lawyer you can trust. Contact The Napier Law Firm to schedule your free initial consultation with a credit card abuse lawyer today. 

Continue reading to learn more about first-time offense credit card theft in Texas. 

What Charge is Credit Card Abuse in Texas?

Debit or credit card abuse can lead to a serious felony conviction. Generally, the penalty for most credit card theft offenses is a state felony. However, if the crime is committed against an elderly person, it’s a third-degree felony. 

The distinction between the two charges is that a third-degree felony conviction can result in significantly more prison time and fines. Learn more about the penalties for first-time credit card abuse in the next section. 

How Long is The Sentence For Credit Card Theft?

Individuals charged with credit card abuse (without a criminal history) may qualify for a first-time offender program in Texas. However, exact sentencing for credit card theft depends on the nature of the crime, the value of the benefits received, and many other factors. 

Generally, if an individual is convicted of stealing, attempting to steal, or using someone else’s card they may face the following penalties: 

  • State or third-degree felony charges
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Incarceration up to 180 days to 10 years 
  • Restitution payments 

When you’re facing first-time credit card fraud charges, you need an attorney who will consider all the facts of your case, build a solid defense, and negotiate for the best possible outcome. 

Depending on the circumstances, your Houston criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the most significant credit card fraud penalties. 

Can You Go To Jail For Using Someone Else’s Credit Card? 

Texas fraud laws stipulate that an individual can face credit or debit card abuse offenses if they use or attempt to use another person’s card to obtain a benefit for which they are not legally entitled. 

Generally, you won’t face legal consequences if someone permits you to use their card. However, you can face serious legal consequences if you steal, swipe, or attempt to swipe an individual’s debit or credit card without authorization. 

Common Defenses To Texas Credit Card Abuse Charges 

Credit card fraud allegations don’t have to lead to a first-time conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are many potential defenses to these charges. Some of the most notable defenses to credit card abuse include, but are not limited to: 

  • Lack of intent to obtain a benefit 
  • Accidental possession and use 
  • Lack of knowledge of having possession of the credit or debit card
  • Misunderstanding about authorization to use the card
  • False accusations 

Every credit card fraud case is different. If you’ve been arrested for fraud, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Houston credit card fraud attorney as soon as possible. Learn how our criminal defense lawyers at The Napier Law Firm can help below. 

Contact a Houston Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Today

A felony debit or credit card fraud conviction can devastate you and your family. In addition to the criminal implications, a conviction will limit your job opportunities, tarnish your reputation, and wreak havoc on your finances. 

Working with an experienced Houston attorney for credit card fraud charges gives you the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case. 

Even if the prosecution has a strong case against you, your criminal defense lawyer can potentially negotiate decreased charges, reduced restitution payments, or entrance into a first-time offender program for credit card fraud. 

Contact The Napier Law Firm today to discuss the details of your case.