For Those Charged With a Crime
Tax Crimes in Sugar Land
Providing Comprehensive Defense Across Fort Bend County
For almost 100 years, Texas has generated revenue from the state’s motor fuel taxes to build new roads and highways, as well as pay for upgrades to the state’s transportation infrastructure. Although how we drive has dramatically changed since 1923, the way the state uses motor fuel taxes to fund transportation infrastructure projects has not changed.
For the most recent fiscal year report for 2018, Texas motor fuel excise taxes generated more than $3.7 billion in revenue, which represents nearly seven percent of all state tax collections. For 2018, taxes derived from the motor fuel tax ranked fourth on the state’s source of tax revenue, behind the sales tax, the franchise tax, and the motor vehicle sales and rental tax.
Types of Motor Fuel Tax Crimes
Because of motor fuel is a critical part of the state’s revenue program, law enforcement officials pay close attention to two types of motor fuel tax crimes. The first violation of Texas law involves transporting motor fuel without the proper licenses or transportation documents. This violation of Texas law has been around as long as the motor fuel tax. However, the second primary violation of Texas law has recently emerged as a viable threat to both state coffers and consumers that fall victim to credit card skimming crimes.
By stealing credit or debit card information, someone can purchase large quantities of motor fuel and then sell the motor fuel on the open market at a discount. Law enforcement agencies in Texas are finding different state statutes to prosecute individuals that use stolen credit and debit cards to purchase bulk motor fuel. Some of these statutes are Motor Fuel tax statutes.
If you face a criminal charge for either violation of Texas motor fuel law, Adam Capetillo can work with you to determine how to proceed with a criminal defense. Criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo has compiled more than 10 years of motor fuel tax experience, which includes working for the largest motor fuel companies in the world.
Texas Tax Code Section 162
Section 162 of the Texas Tax Code describes the penalties for transporting gasoline and diesel fuel without a license. Subsection 005 states “The comptroller may cancel or refuse to issue or reissue a motor fuel license to any person who has violated or has failed to comply with a provision of this chapter or a rule of the comptroller.” The subsection provides a detailed explanation of how the license revocation process works in Texas.
Subsection 162.004 of Texas Tax Code Section 162 presents a list of documents that drivers must have to transport motor fuel legally in the Lone Star State. Transporting gasoline or diesel fuel without a manifest, BOL, bill of lading can lead to a license revocation hearing administered by the state Comptroller. The subsection concerning documentation reads “A person may not transport in this state any motor fuel by barge, vessel, railroad tank car, or transport vehicle unless the person has a shipping document for the motor fuel that complies with this section.”
Credit Card Skimming Charges
As one of the most common white-collar crimes, credit card skimming has morphed into a multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise. Identity theft by hacking onto electronic devices remains one of the popular methods of credit card skimming. However, a new technology used by criminals relies on placing a skimming device inside a credit card monitoring machine. Gas stations and convenience stores that sell motor fuel are prime targets for credit card skimming crimes.
What are the Penalties for Credit Card Fraud in Texas?
Skimming credit card information to buy motor fuel and avoid Texas motor fuel taxes is considered a serious criminal offense in the Lone Star State. Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code states that a felony credit card fraud conviction can trigger at least 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000. If the credit card fraud was committed against an elderly individual, the state considers the crime to be a third-degree felony carrying a prison sentence between two and 10 years.
If you face a credit card fraud charge that is linked to the purchase of motor fuel, you should work with Adam Capetillo to devise a strategy to clear your name.
Defending Criminal Charges for Avoiding Motor Fuel Taxes
Although Texas law enforcement agencies are using different prosecuting strategies for alleged crimes that involve avoiding the payment of motor fuel taxes, some of the same criminal defenses used for other credit card fraud cases might also work for defending clients charged with motor fuel taxes crimes.
Authorization is a powerful legal argument, especially for someone who was charged with using another person’s credit card to buy motor fuel. If someone gave you permission to buy motor fuel using his or her credit card, then you did not commit a credit card fraud crime. The key is to get the person who approved the use of a credit card to make a sworn statement confirming consent.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures, does not just apply to businesses and residences. It also applies to vehicles, including a vehicle used to transport motor fuel, without having the proper licenses and/or transportation papers. If we can approve a violation of the Fourth amendment, everything else associated with the case becomes legally irrelevant.
Experienced Texas Motor Fuel Tax Attorney
If a law enforcement agency has accused you of transporting gasoline or diesel fuel without a license, you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has more than 10 years of experience handling motor fuel tax. This also applies to anyone that faces a criminal charge of transporting gasoline or diesel fuel without a manifest. Texas criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo has a thorough understanding of everything written into Texas Tax Code Section 162. He also defends clients charged with credit or debit card fraud that are accused of buying items with stolen card information.