Credit Card Theft
The use of credit and debit cards has made buying and selling easier than ever. Unfortunately, the heavy use of these forms of payment creates many opportunities for theft. Because credit and debit card theft can have such drastic consequences on the finances of victims, it is considered a serious crime in Florida. Those that have been accused of committing credit card theft can face severe penalties including jail time and heavy fines. If you or someone you know has been charged with credit card theft, it is important to contact anexperienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your legal interests.Credit Card Theft
In order to prove a charge of credit card theft a prosecutor must show that the defendant:
- Took a credit card from the person;
- Without the cardholder’s consent or with knowledge that it was taken without consent; and
- Intends to use, sell, or transfer the card to someone else other than the cardholder or issuer.
Even if someone did not physically take the card from another person’s possession, he or she can still be found guilty of credit card theft if that person:
- Received a credit card;
- Knew the card was lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake; and
- Retained the card with the intent to use, sell, or transfer it to someone other than the cardholder or issuer.
Receiving a credit card means acquiring possession or control of the card. It can also include accepting a credit card as security for a loan.Unlawful Possession of a Stolen Credit or Debit Card
Mere possession of a stolen credit or debit card can have legal consequences if a person:
- Knowingly possessed, received, or retained custody of a credit or debit card;
- That had been taken from the possession, custody, or control of another without the cardholder’s consent;
- With the intent to impede the recovery of the credit or debit card by the cardholder.
A person convicted of credit card theft faces a first degree misdemeanor charge, which can result in:
- A jail sentence of up to one year; and
- Payment of a $1,000 fine.
Aside from a heavy fine and the possibility of serving jail time, a conviction for credit card theft will go on a defendant’s record and can negatively affect his or her future prospects. For instance, obtaining housing or employment could become significantly more difficult.Defenses
Retaining an experienced attorney who has knowledge of applicable defenses can make the difference between a conviction and a dismissal. Some of the most common defenses against a charge of credit card theft are:
- Lack of intent to commit theft or an unlawful act;
- Lack of knowledge that the credit or debit card was unlawfully obtained;
- Authorization given by the credit card holder; and
Being charged with credit or debit card theft can have life-altering consequences. If you are or someone you know is facing this type of charge, seeking the advice of an experienced attorney is invaluable to establishing a solid defense. Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.