In the 21st Century monetary transactions are accomplished electronically far more often than they are in cold hard cash or even by using checks. Paper currency has made way for plastic for the majority of Americans. Not surprisingly, crimes involving fraud or theft by credit or debit card are also on the rise across America and the State of California is no exception. Regardless of how you happen to come across someone else’s credit or debit card, as yourself the following question before you consider using it “ Can I be arrested for theft by a credit or debit card in California? ”
The California Penal Code actually has a number of sections that address crimes involving the use of credit/debit cards and/or the information contained on the cards. The overarching theme in most of those laws is that if you use someone else’s card/information in a way that intentionally deprives the owner of something of value and you gain something from the transaction or activity you are likely breaking the law.
Theft by a credit or debit card can take many forms, such as:
- Using a credit/debit card you know is stolen to purchase goods or merchandise
- Using a counterfeit card to purchase goods or merchandise
- Using someone else’s card without their consent
- Using your own card when you know it was revoked or you know you are past your credit limit
- Using a stolen card to receive goods or services
The penalties for theft related crimes involving a credit or debit card in California vary depending on the actual crime with which you are charged and convicted. Many of the credit card crimes are felonies in California. Forgery and grand theft, for example, may both be charged as a felony offense, punishable by 16 months, two, or three years in county jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.
If you have been charged with theft by credit or debit card in California you may have a defense to the crime if you lacked the intent to defraud. This, along with any other defenses, should be discussed at length with an experienced California criminal defense attorney. Contact criminal defense attorney Dominic J. Lombardo by calling 619-457-6075 to schedule your appointment today.
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