Credit card fraud can happen in many different ways, and you could face serious penalties in Virginia related to the theft, fraud, or forgery of a credit card. If you or a loved one are in this position, it’s important to find legal counsel right away. The Roanoke credit card fraud lawyers at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico have helped many individuals in your position and have what it takes to get the best possible result.
A credit card fraud investigation can become very complex, and it’s important to have a knowledgeable and aggressive white collar crimes defense lawyer. This could be the difference in explaining misunderstandings, avoiding formal charges, getting a credit ard fraud charges dismissed, or clearing your name.
When Can You Get Charged With Credit Card Fraud
The Criminal Code of Virginia 18.2-195 covers fraud and theft. As a result, Virginia law allows you to be charged with credit card fraud in many different scenarios. Specifically, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for any offense regarding your credit card, a card belonging to someone else, or a misrepresentation you make to a credit card issuer.
While many Virginia credit card offenses are prosecuted in state court, it is also possible for your case to move to federal court if the details involve multiple states or an especially significant amount of money.
Fraud always involves someone intending to deceive others to achieve financial gain. The theft of someone’s credit card can be considered an attempt to defraud the person whose name is on the card, or the company who issues the card. This offense can be committed by physically taking a credit card, by using the card information online, or over the phone at the expense of others. However, there are several other examples where credit card fraud can be charged.
Other examples of Credit Card Fraud
- Making false statements to get a credit card
- Selling the information of the credit card’s rightful holder
- Using a counterfeited, unissued, or revoked credit card
- Using a credit card to secure debt fraudulently
- Possessing a lost or stolen credit card
- Altering someone’s credit card
- Signing the credit card of another person
Penalties For Credit Card Fraud In Virginia
Prosecutors in VA aggressively pursue serious punishments for credit card offenses. The definition of credit card fraud can be complicated, but the punishments are relatively straightforward.
The consequences for a credit card fraud conviction in Virginia are heavily based on the value of the fraud:
- Fraud of less than $200 in a six month period – Class one misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
- Fraud of more than $200 in a six month period – Class six felony punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine up to $2,500.
Multiple Counts of Credit Card fraud
It’s important to know that every instance of credit card fraud or theft can be considered a separate crime, generally referred to as a “count.” For example, if you are charged with fraudulently acquiring a credit card and making two transactions that are each worth more than $200, you can be facing two felony counts of credit card fraud.
This could potentially land you in prison for up to 10 years. Your card fraud defense attorney must understand how the prosecution will approach your case if you are to prevail and avoid such a dire conviction.
How a Lawyer Defends Against Credit Card Fraud
There are many ways that your lawyer can build a strong defense against credit card fraud charges. While every case is different, the most common approach to defending a person in this position revolves around the issue of intent.
Essentially, the prosecution must prove that you intended to commit fraud if they are to win their case against you. In addition to raising the issue of your intent, your defense lawyer may build a defense strategy based on:
- You had the card holder’s permission – In many cases, fraud charges result when the accused actually had the card owner’s permission to use their card, but then became angry after the fact.
- You did not know that the card should not have been used – Focusing on the issue of intent, your lawyer may be able to argue that you could not have possibly known that the credit card in your possession was stolen, or perhaps that it had been revoked by the issuer and should not have been in use.
- Law Enforcement violated your rights – If police improperly searched you or your belongings, your constitutional rights may have been violated. Evidence gained by police through improper search should not be used against you in court.
- You were the victim of mistaken identity – Police or witnesses may be looking for someone else, and possibly identified you by accident.
- The electronic data being used against you is inaccurate or corrupted – Many credit card fraud cases involve computer and internet records, but these are often inaccurate due to software issues, viruses, and malware, or the malicious actions of others. If such evidence is presented in court, your lawyer must be ready to hire the right experts to investigate its validity.
Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico Can Help You
Fraud charges in Virginia are very serious, and a conviction will disrupt your life in countless ways. You’ll face a lengthy prison sentence and a permanent criminal record, which will affect your ability to get a job for the rest of your life. So never take an accusation of credit card fraud lightly.
Our Roanoke credit card fraud lawyers know that every case is unique and our experience in state and federal court allows us to understand how the prosecutor will handle your case. Let us use our considerable skill to build an effective defense no matter what the details of your charge. We may be able to show you had permission to use the card in question or negotiate a resolution that lets you move on with your life.
Do not hesitate to call Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico as soon as possible after you or a loved one have been charged with credit card fraud. You need a lawyer who is passionate about securing the best possible results and extensive experience in fraud cases.