Credit card fraud is increasing in frequency every day. As the internet makes it easier to steal, share and use credit card information, it will continue to do so. Unfortunately, because so many credit card fraud cases involve anonymous internet activities, many people are wrongly charged with this crime. In many cases, police begin to accuse anyone who may have had access to sensitive credit card information, even if that person has never committed a crime in their life. Anyone charged with credit card fraud or being investigated for the crime should immediately contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
About Credit Card Fraud Charges
California state penal code 484(g) (PC) covers the majority of credit card fraud crimes. Under this law, gaining access to money, services, or goods through the use of a stolen, fake, forged, expired, or otherwise invalid credit or debit card is illegal. Those who break this law will not be charged with 484(g) (PC) but with either petty or grand theft.
Petty theft charges apply in cases when the illicitly acquired goods or services are valued at less than $950. Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Many offenders can even keep these charges off their record by participating in a diversion program.
If the goods are valued at more than $950, you will instead face grand theft charges. This offense is a wobbler, which can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines, whereas felony grand theft is punishable by up to 3 years in prison. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can be critical in helping to ensure those facing credit card charges involving more than $950 worth of stolen property will only face misdemeanor charges. In many cases, an attorney can negotiate grand theft charges down to petty theft.
No matter what level theft charges you face, you will also be expected to pay back the victim as part of your criminal sentence.
Related Criminal Offenses
Like many white collar crimes, credit card fraud cases may end up incorporating various charges, including fraud, forgery, representing oneself as another person to an officer of the law, and more. Identity theft is a common charge involved with credit card fraud cases, and it carries separate and substantial prison terms.
These Crimes are Thoroughly Investigated
The San Diego District Attorney has a unit dedicated to investigating financial crimes and identity fraud cases, including those committed using debit or credit cards. Most credit card fraud cases require extensive police searches of your property and computer files. A credit card fraud lawyer in San Diego, like Peter M. Liss, can review such police searches to help ensure your rights are not violated during the investigation.
By having a top criminal attorney at your side during any police interviews, you can avoid mistakenly saying something which may be used against you later on and ensure the police do not violate your rights during the interrogation process.
Fighting Charges with a San Diego Credit Card Fraud Lawyer
If you have been accused of any of these crimes in conjunction with a suspected credit card theft, please call a credit card fraud attorney like Peter M. Liss as soon as possible. There are many defenses to these crimes, but perhaps the strongest is simply arguing you had no intent to defraud when you used the credit or debit card. For example, you would not be guilty if you found a credit card and put it in your purse, intending to report the loss to the credit card company, but forgot about it and then later used it to fill up at a gas station without noticing it wasn’t yours.
If you have any questions or need to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer, contact attorney Peter M. Liss. Please call (760) 643-4050.