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Fraudulent Price Tags

Fraudulent crimes are normally associated with intricate identity theft schemes or people impersonating others for a benefit. You might not know that removing, destroying or concealing writing is also considered a fraudulent crime, the term writing can mean multiple items but normally refers to retailer price tags. Fraudulent removal, destruction or concealment of price tags can lead to serious consequences including jail time. 

If you or someone you know has been arrested for fraudulently altering price tags, we recommend you have legal representation ready. The crime can even reach felony-level penalties if certain factors appear in your case. These charges are nothing to laugh about, so to protect your future and freedom we suggest you speak to an attorney immediately.

Defense Lawyer for Fraudulent Price Tags in Harris County, TX

Changing, destroying or concealing a price tag’s actual writing can lead to a criminal record. To avoid this, we highly suggest you seek legal counsel that is skilled at defending fraudulent crimes. For an experienced and skilled attorney, we suggest you contact Horak Law.

Matthew Horak approaches his clients with compassion but remains aggressive in the courtroom. He has the resources, techniques and years of practice needed to fight a serious theft or property crime charge. Call him now at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation completely free.

Horak Law defends people throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Pasadena, Cypress, Spring and Tomball. 

Overview of Fraudulent Price Tags in Texas


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What is Fraudulently Altering a Price Tag in Texas?

If you’ve entered any retailer store or business, you know what a price tag is and how easy it is to alter it. However, concealing, altering, destroying or removing a price tag has serious consequences. Texas defines this crime under Penal Code Section 32.47, which states that:

  • A person commits the crime if:
    • They destroy, remove, conceal, alter, substitute or otherwise impair the verity, legibility, or availability of a writing, other than a governmental record; and
    • Does so with the intent to defraud or harm another person

The term “writing” in a legal definition includes: 

  • Printing, or any method of recording information;
  • Money, tokens, stamps, coins, seals, credit cards, badges, trademarks;
  • Symbols of right, value, privilege, or identification; and
  • Universal product codes, labels, price tags or markings on goods. 

It’s clear that the charge can incorporate other types of writing such as a fake currency or badges. However, the majority of fraudulent destruction, removal or concealment of writing cases deal with retailer product tags or universal product codes.


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Penalties for Fraudulent Price Tags in Texas

Since the Texas Statute is vague on what a “writing” refers to, the penalties for altering or destroying a writing vary depending on the facts of the case. A person is charged with a class A misdemeanor for fraudulent writing if:

  • The writing is not attached to tangible property, which indicates the price for the sale of that property; and
  • The actor didn’t do the act for the purpose of obtaining property for a lesser price as indicated by some separate writing. 

Class A misdemeanor can result in the following statutory penalties: 

  • Up to 1 year in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $4,000

The crime is enhanced to a state jail felony if: 

  • The writing is a will or codicil of another and it has been admitted into probate, whether or not the original person who made the will has passed away or not; or
  • The writing is a deed, mortgage, deed of trust, security instrument, security agreement or other writing in which the law provides public recording or filing

A state jail felony has the following maximum penalties:

  • Up to 2 years in state jail; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

If the writing was attached to tangible property to indicate the price so the actor can pay a reduced cost, then the penalties for the crime are enhanced. These consequences depend on the difference between the amount of money the actor paid or attempted to pay and the amount of money the property was originally priced at.     

  • A class C misdemeanor if the difference between the original price and lesser price the actor paid is less than $100
  • A class B misdemeanor if the difference between the original price and lesser price the actor paid is $100 or more, but less than $70;
  • A class A misdemeanor if the difference between the original price and lesser price the actor paid is $750 or more, but less than $2,500;
  • A state jail felony if the difference between the original price and lesser price the actor paid is $2,500 or more, but less than $30,000;
  • A third-degree felony if the difference between the original price and lesser price the actor paid is $30,000 or more, but less than $150,000;
  • A second-degree felony if the difference between the original price and lesser price the actor paid is $150,000 or more, but less than $300,000;
  • A first-degree felony if the difference between the original price and lesser price the actor paid is more than $300,000;

A class C misdemeanor can result in a $500 fine. However, a class B misdemeanor can lead to:

  • Up to 180 days in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $2,000

In Texas, a third-degree felony can result in:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000 

Second-degree felonies in Texas maximum penalties include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000 

First-degree felonies are the second highest level crime a person can be convicted of. The penalties include up to 99 years in prison with a minimum of 15 years, as well as a $10,000 fine.


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Additional Resources

Consumer Complaints in TX – Visit the official website for the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, to learn more about how to file a consumer complaint in Texas. Access the site to learn why you should file a complaint, how to prepare it, what it does and what the attorney general can do to help you with it.

Texas’s Fraud Crimes – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their various fraudulent crimes. Access the site to learn the specifics of fraud, money laundering and other types of white-collar crimes that can lead to serious penalties.


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Defense Lawyer for Fraudulent Writing in The Woodlands, TX

If you or someone you know has been arrested for fraudulent writing, then it’s imperative you find an attorney you can trust. Matthew Horak with his years of experience and vigor for defense may just be the answer. He is passionate about what he does, but attorney Horak also has defended numerous clients charged with all types of fraud. 

You can learn more about his practice by calling Horak Law at (713) 225-8000. Matthew Horak can set up an appointment with you and discuss your charges at length with you. [firm] represents people throughout many counties in Texas such as Fort Bend County, Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, and Brazoria County.


This article was last updated on November 22, 2019.

Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
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5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014

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