Paper money is becoming less and less common nowadays, with more people opting to use credit cards over cash. There are various criminal offenses involving credit card theft and fraud, and the penalties can be very harsh.
There are multiple crimes and offenses involved with credit card theft. You can be charged with a crime for using a stolen credit card or using someone’s stolen personal information to obtain a credit card. Making false applications for credit cards can also be criminally charged. The penalties for these offenses depend on the nature of the credit card theft. Depending on the value of the overall theft, you could face serious felony charges and penalties. There are also added consequences of having a fraud conviction on your record and being perceived as untrustworthy by potential employers.
If you are facing criminal charges related to credit card theft, call our Ogden theft defense lawyers for help right away. Schedule a free case evaluation with our team by calling Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.
What is Credit Card Theft in Utah?
Credit card theft is more than simply stealing a credit card that does not belong to you. Credit card theft can involve using stolen credits cards, falsifying information to obtain credit cards, or selling or transferring stolen credit cards. The exact penalties for credit card theft crimes depend on how the offenses allegedly occurred and the value of any stolen goods or services. Our Provo theft defense lawyers can help you fight the charges and clear your good name.
Unlawful Use of a Credit Card
Under Utah Code § 76-6-506.2, a defendant can be charged with the unlawful use of a credit card. This often involves using a card that does not belong to you or was obtained through fraudulent means. The crime involves knowingly using a fake, altered, expired, or stolen credit card to obtain goods, services, or property.
You do not necessarily have to use a physical card to be charged with this offense. Using the information from the card, such as the credit card number or PIN, to obtain goods and services may suffice. For example, online purchases do not require a person have a physical credit card, and they can use the information from the card to complete the transaction.
The charges for this offense begin at Class B misdemeanors for stolen goods or services valued at less than $500. If the value of the stolen merchandise is at least $500 but less than $1,500, the charges are Class A misdemeanors. When the total value of the stolen goods is at least $1,500 but less than $5,000, the charges may be for third-degree felonies. Finally, second-degree felonies can be charged for credit card theft of at least $5,000.
False Applications for Credit Cards
Similar to the above crime and contained within the same statute is the crime of false applications for credit cards. This offense is not necessarily a theft crime but rather a fraud crime. The offense involves using false information to apply for lines of credit. For example, using a fake identity or stolen identity to apply for credit cards may fall under this statute.
This offense is charged in the same way as the offense above. The total value of the stolen goods or services involved in the offense determines the extent of the charges and penalties. You should speak with our South Jordan theft defense attorneys about how to fight or downgrade your charges.
Unlawful Acquisition, Possession, or Transfer of Credit Cards
According to Utah Code § 76-6-506.3, a person can be charged for acquiring a credit card without the card holder’s consent or unlawfully transferring credit cards. Under the law, it is a crime to knowingly obtain a credit card from someone else without their consent. Even if you did not take the card yourself, it is a crime to receive a stolen card. You can also be charged for selling or transferring stolen credit cards.
A person who possesses, sells, or transfers any information necessary for the use of at least 100 credit cards may be charged with a second-degree felony.
Penalties for Credit Card Theft in Utah
There are very serious penalties for credit card theft offenses. Many of these offenses can be charged as felonies and come with the possibility of years behind bars. Our West Valley City theft defense attorneys can go over the potential penalties in your case and develop effective defense strategies.
If you are convicted of a Class B misdemeanor for credit card theft or related offenses, you can be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail. If your charges are for Class A misdemeanors, you may face up to 364 days in jail.
Felony convictions are much more serious, and convicted defendants will go to state prison rather than county jail. For a third-degree felony, you may face no more than 5 years in prison. For a second-degree felony, you can be sentenced to at least 1 year and up to 15 years in prison.
It is important to note that many credit card offenses are charged alongside related crimes, and your overall sentence could be longer than the limits mentioned here.
Consequences of Fraud Convictions in Utah
There are other consequences for people convicted of fraud crimes in Utah. A criminal conviction is reflected on your record forever. Crimes of fraud may reflect especially poorly when you go to interview for jobs. A fraud conviction might make a potential employer think you cannot be trusted. In some fields, such as those where people are trusted with large amounts of money, fraud convictions might make you ineligible for certain jobs.
It is important to speak to an attorney about any credit card charges you might be facing. A conviction might cost you job opportunities in the future. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys can help you hopefully avoid a conviction and get your life back.
Call Our Utah Theft Defense Attorneys for Help
If you are facing charges related to credit card theft, our Orem criminal defense lawyers are prepared to assist you in any way they can. Call us for a free case review at Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.