In Arizona, credit card theft is not taken lightly. Credit card theft is the crime of taking or possessing someone else’s credit card without consent. A.R.S. 13-2102 and A.R.S. 13-2105 both address fraudulent use of a credit card as well as theft of a credit card. Although related, these are two separate concepts, and a person can be charged for stealing a credit card, using a credit card fraudulently, or both.
Those holding onto someone else’s credit card as a security for debt or those who sell a credit card with the intent to defraud can also be convicted of this crime. Defendants can even be convicted of this offense without ever personally using the stolen credit card.
For instance, someone who accepts a gift purchased with a credit card he knows to be stolen can be convicted of this crime. Credit card fraud can take many different forms, so even though it’s a common offense, fighting credit card fraud charges requires an expert defense from an experienced credit card fraud lawyer.
What is Credit Card Fraud in Arizona?
Theft charges usually vary depending on the value of the item stolen. When it comes to credit card theft, though, the act of stealing the card alone can result in harsh penalties. Theft of a credit card includes stealing or using a credit card without permission from the cardholder.
A theft of a credit card can be made even worse by fraudulently using a credit card and presenting the card as your own to make a purchase. Credit card fraud can be committed either using someone else’s card or using one’s own card with the intent to mislead someone in a transaction.
According to A.R.S. 13-2102, a person commits credit card theft by:
- Controlling a credit card without the cardholder’s permission
- Selling, transferring, or conveying a credit card with the intent to defraud
- Possessing, caring, or controlling a credit card as security for debt with the intent to defraud
A.R.S. 13-2105 expands upon this definition even further, explaining that a person commits fraudulent use of a credit card by:
- Using a credit card or credit card number that is forged, expired, canceled, or revoked in order to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value
- Obtaining or attempting to obtain money, goods, or services by representing themselves as a cardholder without the consent of the true cardholder
Under Arizona law, the definition of credit card fraud also includes other forms of payment, like debit cards and gift cards. Similarly, an individual does not have to be in physical possession of a credit card in order to commit credit card fraud.
An example of this includes accessing someone’s credit card information through other means, like Apple Pay or other smart devices that can be used to pay for a transaction through a bank account.
What are the Penalties for Credit Card Fraud?
In Arizona, theft of a credit card or obtaining a card by fraudulent means is a class 5 felony, and it can carry severe penalties. Meanwhile, the act of credit card fraud can range from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 5 felony. Even a first-time offender can face jail time or prison time if convicted of credit card fraud or theft.
Credit card theft is punishable by a minimum jail sentence of 1/2 year and a maximum of 2.5 years in prison, while the presumptive sentence is 1.5 years.
In addition to stealing a credit card, a person can face criminal charges if they receive anything purchased with the stolen credit card. A.R.S. 13-2105 outlines the following classifications for credit card fraud:
- If the value of the item purchased is less than $250, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor.
- If the item’s value is between $250 and $1,000, it’s a class 6 felony.
- If the item is valued at over $1,000, it’s a class 5 felony.
If a person is convicted of receiving items purchased from a stolen credit card, he or she could face anywhere from 6 months to 2 years in prison.
As you can see, the penalties for credit card fraud are wide-ranging, and ultimately, the sentence you may receive for credit card fraud depends heavily on the circumstances of your case.
With the help of the right credit card fraud attorney, however, you may have the opportunity to have your penalties reduced. At JacksonWhite, we strive to support our clients by exploring each credit card fraud case from every angle and doing our best to employ a strategy that minimizes the impact your criminal case has on the rest of your life. Our high success rates are a testimony to how well we reach our goals for many of our clients.
It’s Possible to Have Your Credit Card Fraud Penalties Reduced
Although the penalties for a credit card fraud conviction are severe, it’s possible to have your penalties reduced under the right circumstances.
Some possible defenses for credit card fraud include:
- No intent to defraud – For a conviction, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant had an intent to defraud. If a person can prove that they had no intent to use the card fraudulently, they may be able to have charges dismissed. For example, if a family member offers to let someone use their card, but then they have an argument, and the cardholder revokes the family member’s permission to use the card, they may unknowingly use the card without intending to defraud the cardholder.
- Insufficient evidence – To convict someone of credit card fraud, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally committed fraud. If there is insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant willfully committed fraud or theft, this could be used as a potential defense.
- Mistaken identity – In some cases, people are mistakenly identified as responsible for fraudulent charges on a credit card. This can happen if multiple people have access to a credit or debit card, and the cardholder falsely accuses one of the individuals with access. If the defense can prove that the accused person was not actually tied to the credit card fraud, they can potentially have the charges dropped.
Developing an effective defense against a credit card fraud charge starts with having an experienced credit card fraud attorney by your side. In previous credit card fraud cases, our attorneys at JacksonWhite have had consistent success in reducing and even eliminating charges altogether.
Credit Card Fraud Case Result Example
JacksonWhite Law has helped clients in the Phoenix Metro area and throughout Arizona facing all types of fraud charges. Here’s an example of a recent credit card fraud case that had a positive outcome:
- Court: Maricopa Superior Court
- Charges: one count fraudulent use of a credit card, one count theft of a credit card, three counts of forgery
- Typical Sentence: 2+ years in jail or prison, significant fines
- Our Result: prosecution suspended, three years of unsupervised probation
Of course, this result is just one example of how our team has been able to support clients in defense against criminal charges. To see how we’ve helped clients facing other charges, check out our recent case results.
Get Help with a Credit Card Fraud Charge in Arizona
Both credit card theft and credit fraud can come with harsh penalties for those charged. If you’re facing credit card fraud or related fraud charges in Arizona, your future can depend on the outcome of your criminal case. You can influence your outcome by having the right resources and expertise in your corner.
With an experienced credit card fraud lawyer by your side, you can defend against the risk of incurring the harshest penalties under the law. An experienced and dedicated attorney can potentially reduce your penalties and the impact your case has on your future.
At JacksonWhite, we offer that dedication and expertise. Our criminal defense attorneys have helped thousands of clients in the Phoenix metro area, and we can help you, too.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 418-4281 to discuss your case today.