person holding credit cards

Opening a line of credit is imperative when you become an adult, as it can serve as the basis for your financial future. Generally, credit cards are the first step for young adults to build up their credit, eventually allowing them to take out car loans, apply for apartments, and even receive a loan for a home. That’s why card fraud is taken very seriously in Georgia. Unfortunately, many charged with this offense do not understand the severity of the charges against them and thus do not retain the legal guidance of a Cobb County criminal defense lawyer. If this reflects your circumstances, you’ll want to keep reading to learn more about the charges against you and the potential consequences.

What Is Card Fraud?

Card fraud, officially known as “financial transaction card theft” is not just stealing a credit or debit card, You can be charged with this offense if you do any of the following:

  • Take a credit or debit card from the owner without their consent
  • Possess a card known to be stolen with the intent to use it
  • Taking or purchasing a card known to be stolen with the intent to use it
  • Possessing a card known to be stolen with the intent to sell it

Generally, any time you take a card that does not belong to you without the permission of the cardholder with intent to use, give it away, or sell it, it is considered financial transaction card theft. Additionally, the theft does not have to be a physical taking of the card. For example, if you steal someone else’s credit card number and create a fraudulent card with those numbers, this can also lead to charges.

What Are the Potential Penalties for Those Convicted?

If you are charged with this offense, it’s important to understand that this is a felony offense, regardless of whether or not you even used the card, so long as you had the intent to. As such, you can face between one and five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

It’s important to understand that if you use the stolen card, you will likely also be charged with financial transaction card fraud, which happens when you knowingly use a card without the cardholder’s consent. As such, you can also face a felony charge, but the penalties will depend on how much was stolen.

Can a Lawyer Help Me Craft a Defense?

If you have been charged with credit card fraud, working with an attorney may be able to help you craft a defense based on your circumstances. For example, you may find that you can prove you had no intention of using the card. If you are walking around a store and find a credit card on the ground, you may take it to turn it over to management to help locate the rightful owner. However, someone may see you taking the card and automatically assume you are going to use it and steal.

Similarly, you may be able to show that you had permission from the cardholder to use the item to make a purchase.

Regardless, you should connect with an experienced criminal defense attorney from the Miller Law Practice to help you navigate these complex matters. Unfortunately, many assume they can represent themselves in these matters, which is far from the truth. Our firm has the necessary experience to assist you through these matters. Learn how we can assist you further by scheduling a consultation with a member of our dedicated team.