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What Happens if You Get Arrested for Fraud in Harris County

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

What Happens if You Get Arrested for Fraud in Harris County

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Getting arrested on fraud charges in Harris County is a big deal. Texas has stiff penalties for defendants convicted of fraud. In some cases of fraud, the federal government may press charges and assign penalties as well.

An arrest for fraud in Harris County is the beginning of a long process. Each step of that process will have its own unique challenges.

I’ve Been Arrested for Fraud, Now What?

The first step in the legal process after a crime has been committed is the arrest itself. When a person is caught in the act of committing a crime or is under suspicion of criminal activity, they can be taken into custody by the police. In Harris County, people who have been arrested may be transported in handcuffs to the Harris County Jail at 701 N San Jacinto St. Houston, TX 77002 by the Sheriff’s Office.

During the process of being booked into jail, several things may take place. These things include:

  • Giving personal information
  • Fingerprinting
  • Removal of personal property
  • Being checked/searched for contraband or evidence

After being processed into the jail, the next phase of the legal process begins.

Bail, Arraignments and Attorneys

At this phase of the arrest process, several important things can occur that can seriously impact the outcome of a case. These steps include:

Posting or making bail is the process of a making a payment in exchange for release from jail. The bail amount is considered collateral that guarantees a defendant will show up in court at a later date. The amount of the bail will depend on the nature of the offense.

If the bail is too expensive, it is possible to hire a bail bondsman. Bondsmen take a portion of the total cost of the bail in exchange for a contract with the defendant. If the defendant fails to stay in touch with the bondsman, the bail could be revoked and a warrant will be issued for the defendant’s arrest.

At this time, the defendant will be allowed to make phone calls. They may call their family or friends to post their bond and they may call an attorney. If they call an attorney, they can usually schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney after their bond has been posted. Some attorneys may also meet with their clients in jail if bail is not posted.

If the defendant does not pay the bail, they will be brought before a judge to be arraigned. The charges will be read and the bail amount will be set. At that time the defendant can be returned to jail to await their court date or until their bond can be paid.

Fraud Penalties

Chapter 32 of the Texas Penal Code defines fraud as the use of deceit to obtain money or property from others for personal benefit. This can include activities like:

  • Forging checks
  • Selling stolen goods
  • Using the credit cards of others without their permission
  • Using false information in a loan application

The penalties for fraud can be numerous and severe. Being charged with fraud by check forgery can lead to:

  • A state jail felony conviction
  • A term of incarceration from 180 days or up to two years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Using between five and ten stolen identification items can lead to:

  • A conviction on a third degree felony charge
  • Incarceration in prison for two to 10 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Legal Defense Strategies

Fighting fraud charges is tough but hiring an attorney can make the process easier. If the defendant has no past convictions, the attorney might be able to negotiate with the court for a reduced sentence. For example, the attorney may be able to get the court to agree to sentence the defendant to probation and educational classes rather than hard jail time.

In some cases, the attorney may be able to introduce evidence showing the defendant’s innocence. For example, an attorney might be able to use credit card receipts or security camera footage to show that a defendant was not at the scene of the crime when the fraud took place. If the evidence is strong enough, the court might agree to reduce, change or drop the charges completely.

Hiring a good defense attorney as soon as possible after being arrested is the best strategy for fighting fraud charges in Harris County.

If you’ve been arrested for fraud in Houston or surrounding areas, contact The Law Office of Greg Tsioros. We can help protect your rights and preserve your freedom. Call 832-752-5972 or email today for a free, confidential consultation.

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