By Collin County Criminal Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
It’s not a crime to be irresponsible with your credit cards. It is a crime to use someone else’s credit card without their consent.
Credit or debit card abuse is defined by Texas Penal Code 32.31 which holds, in part, beginning in subsection (b);
(b) A person commits an offense if:
(1) with intent to obtain a benefit fraudulently, he presents or uses a credit card or debit card with knowledge that:
(A) the card, whether or not expired, has not been issued to him and is not used with the effective consent of the cardholder; or
(B) the card has expired or has been revoked or cancelled;
The code lists out several other ways credit or debit card abuse can be committed other than just using someone else’s credit card. Other examples include using fictitious credit cards, possessing someone else’s credit card without their consent with intent to use it, or buying or selling credit or debit cards (unless, of course, you are the issuer). You can read the entire statute here to see the full list of violations.
Credit or debit card abuse is a state jail felony unless it is committed against someone over the age of 65, in which case it is a third degree felony.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation, you should contact an attorney directly.