The loss of a home through foreclosure by a bank or the repossession of a car by a loan company will often drive a debtor to do things to prevent a creditor from enforcing the terms of a judgment or court order. People with financial problems could find themselves in trouble with local law enforcement authorities if their actions to avoid paying creditors violates laws designed to protect the rights of creditors.
Texas creditors are protected from debtors’ efforts to deter or prevent the seizure of property over which the creditor asserts a claim. Section 32.33 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a fraud crime to restrict a lender in the following manner:
The statute presumes intent to hinder secured creditors when the owner of property fails to make a payment that was due and does not surrender the property when demanded by the backer. Examples of restraining creditors include withdrawing all funds from a bank account to avoid a judgment banker or giving a car to a friend in another state to avoid repossession by a loan company.
Deterring secured creditor penalties depend upon the value of the property. For example, where the amount of the secured property is less than $20, a person can be charged with the commission of a Class C misdemeanor. Property with a value in excess of $200,000 could result in a first degree charge.
A misdemeanor conviction in Texas can result in a sentence ranging from a fine, probation or a period of incarceration in a local or state jail. Felony convictions usually carry with them a period of incarceration in state prison and a fine, but judges have discretion to impose a period of probation in lieu of a prison sentence.
Houston criminal lawyer Rand Mintzer has represented many people charged with blocking bankers. From his years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Mintzer knows that proving a person acted intentionally can be difficult for prosecutors to establish from the evidence. Refusing to cooperate with a lending company or simply refusing to release property to a banking entity might not be sufficient to establish intent to hinder.
A hindering secured creditors attorney must be prepared to challenge the evidence the prosecution is offering against the accused to raise reasonable doubt about the intentions of the defendant. A dismissal or reduction of the hindering charges might be possible if the prosecution’s case is weakened enough.
If you have been charged with hindering secured lenders, talk to Rand Mintzer, Attorney at Law today and schedule a free consultation at 713-862-8880.