Legal Elements of Fraud


Texas law outlines various types of fraud that constitute crimes. Generally, fraud occurs when individuals deliberately deceive others for personal or financial gain. People who commit fraud typically use false or purposely misleading statements to obtain money, property, or services.

One common type of fraud is forgery under Tex. Pen. Code § 32.21. Individuals commit fraud when they forge writing to harm or defraud others. Forgery includes altering a document or creating a false document altogether. The level of the resulting charges depends on the value of the goods obtained through the forgery.

Legal Elements of Fraud

Credit or debit card fraud or abuse is a crime of fraud under Tex. Pen. Code § 32.31. This offense includes such actions as:

  • Using an expired credit card or a card belonging to someone else without consent
  • Using a fictitious credit or debit card
  • Stealing a credit card with the intent to use, sell, or transfer it to someone other than its owner
  • Possessing a credit card without the owner’s consent and with the intent to use it

Credit card fraud is a State jail felony under Texas law that could result in a sentence of incarceration ranging from 180 days to two years and a $10,000 fine.

Individuals also may commit another form of fraud called fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle under Tex. Pen. Code § 32.34. In this type of fraud, persons take possession of a motor vehicle belonging to another with the intent to transfer it to a third party. However, the criminal element of this offense occurs when they transfer the vehicle without obtaining authorization from any lienholders or do so to harm or defraud the owner. 

If you or a family member is facing any criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 359-3362 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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