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Credit Card Fraud

As credit and debit card usage becomes increasingly popular in Miami Dade County and throughout south Florida, so too does the opportunity for such payment tools to be used fraudulently. Studies show that one in three Americans will be victim of some form of credit card fraud in their lifetime. A competent criminal defense attorney should be consulted to consider the unique circumstances of each case.

Put broadly, credit card fraud refers to the unauthorized use of a debit or credit card to obtain cash or property. If you are facing credit card fraud charges, the situation can be stressful and maneuvering the legal system is a difficult task. A competent criminal trial attorney is pivotal to ensuring your rights are upheld and could keep you out of prison.

Elements of Credit Card Fraud

Under Florida law, the prosecution must prove three elements in order to obtain a credit card fraud conviction:

  • The defendant obtained a credit or debit card illegally, or knew the card to be a forgery;
  • The defendant used the credit or debit card with the intention of defrauding a merchant, and;
  • The defendant received money, goods, or anything else of value from the merchant.

A competent criminal trial attorney will work diligently to cast doubt on these elements, protecting your rights.

Misdemeanor v. Felony

Florida law considers credit card fraud a serious offense with potentially harsh consequences, the severity of which largely dependent on whether the charges are felony or misdemeanor. Credit card fraud charges are unique because they are considered over a six-month window of time, meaning all uses of a fraudulent credit card within that timespan are considered when filing charges. A criminal defense attorney should be contacted for a free consultation to assist you in understanding the charges you are facing.

The severity of the charges are dependent upon the following:

  1. The dollar value of the crime aggregated across a six-month window; or
  2. The number of times the credit or debit card was used across a six-month window.
Misdemeanor

Credit card fraud is considered a misdemeanor when:

  1. The dollar value of the crime is less than $100 across six-months; and
  2. The card was used two times or fewer across six-months.

Misdemeanor credit card fraud is punishable by up to: one year in jail, one year probation, and a $1,000 fine.

Felony

The threshold for a credit card fraud charge to become felony is considerably low, felony charges are filed when:

  1. The dollar value of the crime is less than $100 across six-months; and
  2. The card was used three or more times across six-months.

Felony credit card fraud is punishable by up to: five years in prison, five years probation, and a $5,000 fine.

For example, if a defendant fraudulently uses a credit card to make a one-time purchase of $75, they would be charged with a misdemeanor. On the other hand, if a defendant makes an initial purchase of $75, waits three months, then makes another purchase of $50, their aggregated total within the six-month window becomes $125, and they would be charged with a felony.

Charged with Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud charges are serious and the hardships they cause can be cumbersome. The government is in the business of making examples out of those charged with credit card offenses, and you should not face them alone. An experienced credit card fraud lawyer can raise important pretrial and trial defenses on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected.

If you were arrested in Miami or south Florida and are facing credit card fraud charges, or you are under investigation for credit card fraud, contact an experienced criminal trial attorney immediately to defend your rights.

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He filed motion after motion until the judge finally dismissed my case. He even took it to another judge. The guy never stopped and let nothing stop him. He was all over the prosecutor and knew more law than the judge, it was super cool to watch the man work. He is the best lawyer in the county. Jose