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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
When people think of fraud, they may think of people filing false insurance claims or passing bad checks. However, Texas’ penal code contains many more examples of fraud that range in seriousness, from misdemeanors to first-degree felonies. Regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crimes that a person is accused of, Odessa fraud lawyers are here to help. A skilled criminal lawyer will listen to your side of the story, examine all of the State’s evidence and form a defense that is custom-fit to the facts of the case and your needs.
Texas Fraud Laws
There is no crime in the Texas Penal Code known as fraud. This is a category of crime with many subsections that outline specific offenses such as forgery. Odessa fraud lawyers can help anyone facing these charges begin their preparation for trial.
Forgery is defined as any alteration or execution of any writing so that it:
- Looks like the actions of another person
- Was signed at a time or place that was not correct
- Purports to be a copy of an original that never existed in the first place
Common Types of Forgery Offenses
Examples of forgery include signing a check in another person’s name or changing the dates on a rental contract to make it look like a tenancy started earlier than it actually did. The base form of this offense is treated as a Class A Misdemeanor, but may be upgraded to a felony depending on the writing type or the identity of the victim. Anyone facing these charges should speak with an Odessa fraud lawyer about the penalties they could face.
Credit Card Abuse
Credit card abuse is unlawful to use a credit card without the consent of the cardholder, or alternatively, to steal a credit card. It is even unlawful to possess a credit card in someone else’s name with the intent to use it. Penalties for this range from a State Jail Felony to a Third-Degree Felony.
Insurance fraud is defined as when a person prepares a statement that he knows contains false information with the intent to defraud an insurance company. This can also be applied to false statements made in an application for insurance coverage. The penalties for these crimes range from Class C Misdemeanors to First-Degree Felonies depending on the monetary value of the false claims.
Potential Penalties for Fraud Crimes
As we have seen, depending on the exact nature of the charges, the penalties for fraud crimes can range from Class C Misdemeanors to First-Degree Felonies. Texas Penal Code 12.21 defines the potential penalties for all crimes. Misdemeanors can result in no more than one year in jail with no minimum terms and a maximum fine of $4,000. Odessa fraud lawyers have seen felonies carry a minimum jail term of 180 days and a maximum term of 99 years in extreme cases. Fines in felonies could be as high as $10,000. In crimes that involve theft of property, as fraud-related charges often do, a conviction will result in the payment of restitution for the value of the property taken as part of the sentence.
How an Odessa Fraud Attorney Can Help
Whether a person has been accused of a minor misdemeanor crime such as low-level insurance fraud, or a major criminal enterprise such as money laundering, Odessa fraud lawyers are here to help. They understand the fraud laws in Texas and work to discredit the prosecutor’s case through the cross-examination of witnesses and evidentiary motions.
If your goal is to seek a fair plea deal to minimize any potential penalties, an attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. If you wish to fight the charges at trial, we will develop a well-reasoned and developed argument to present to the jury. Either way, if you are looking for attorneys to protect your freedom and provide a powerful defense, contact our firm today.