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Texas credit card fraud laws define acts, defenses

Credit card fraud is a felony in Texas. Its definition includes a number of different acts. To offer a few examples, each of using another person's credit card, selling a card, buying a card from other than its issuer, making use of a fictitious card, or using a card that has expired or been revoked may constitute credit card fraud under the Texas Penal Code.

Possessing a debit card or credit card that belongs to someone else may meet the definition of credit card fraud if the state can prove intent to use it. Additionally, inducing a cardholder to use his or her card in order to obtain property with the knowledge that the cardholder would be unable to pay and most theft crimes involving credit or debit cards may also be credit card fraud.

Prosecutors are required to prove that the person charged intended to benefit by these or other fraudulent acts. Valid defenses against a credit card fraud charge include duress, lack of knowledge, mistake and lack of intent. A criminal defense attorney may seek to establish the presence of one or more of these elements at trial. In cases where the person charged is a minor, the age of the defendant may limit the charges or penalties the state can pursue.

Each count of credit card fraud can be punished by up to two years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In cases where the alleged victim is an elderly person, the crime is a third degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. An attorney with experience in criminal defense matters may be able to help individuals charged with credit card fraud by attempting to negotiate a plea bargain with the state or by gathering deposition testimony and other evidence in support of an affirmative defense.

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