Credit card fraud charges can have a major impact on your life, especially if you’re found guilty. Depending on the amount in question and the circumstances of the case, there could be expensive fines or even jailtime involved.
When you’re facing a credit card fraud case, you need to know what to expect. This guide will explain how credit card fraud works, what the potential penalties are and possible defenses for the crime.
What Is Considered Credit Card Fraud?
New York’s criminal code has two broad categories when it comes to credit card fraud. The first is by far the more common of the two, and it’s whenever you use or attempt to use a card that you know is stolen as a payment method. Note that in this case, credit cards and debit cards are both essentially the same under this law, as use of a stolen debit card would also count as credit card fraud.
The other, less common type of credit card fraud would be displaying a credit or debit card that you know is no longer active to obtain some sort of property or service. For example, if you wrote a retailer a check, and then presented your debit card even though it’s canceled, that would be credit card fraud.
There are other crimes that are closely related to credit card fraud. For example, theft of a credit or debit card is grand larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony.
When it comes to credit card fraud, the law doesn’t distinguish between how you obtained the credit card or credit card number. If a reasonable person would believe that the card was stolen, then you could be charged with credit card fraud.
Penalties for Credit Card Fraud
If you’re convicted of credit card fraud, potential penalties include a prison sentence, probation or fines. The exact penalties will depend on what you’re charged with. Here are potential prison sentences for common charges related to credit card fraud:
Possible Defenses to Charges of Credit Card Fraud
The most effective defense for credit card fraud is in cases when the cardholder gave you permission to use their credit card. If the cardholder authorized use of their card, then it’s obviously not fraud.
In situations where you’re charged with using the credit card of someone you don’t know, you may need to provide reasonable doubt that it was you who used the credit card, which will depend on how the card was used. If it was an online order, there may be insufficient evidence to demonstrate that you placed the order. For in-store transactions, there may be security footage, but it would need to clearly show that you’re the one using the card.
How We Can Help
Our credit card fraud lawyers have a wealth of experience in handling these types of cases. They can evaluate your case and the evidence to determine what the best defense is. Your lawyer will be your representation throughout the case, giving you advice on what to do and explaining your options. They can defend you in court, if the case gets that far, or negotiate a plea deal to minimize your punishment.