Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards in Florida

If accused of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

Under Florida Statute 817.61, the crime of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards is committed when a person:

  1. Uses a credit card with the intent to defraud a merchant;
  2. And the credit card was:
    1. Unlawfully obtained;
    2. Known to be forged; or
    3. Presented under the pretense the actual credit card holder authorized the use.
  3. And obtains money, goods, services, or anything else of value from the merchant.

Aggregate Prosecution

Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards is a unique crime because multiple, fraudulent uses of a credit card within a six-month period is treated as a single crime rather than multiple discrete crimes. [1]

Penalties for Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

The penalties for the crime of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards increase based upon either:

  1. The value of the goods obtained within a six-month span; or
  2. The number of times the credit card was used within a six-month span.

Misdemeanor Fraudulent use of a Credit Card

It is Misdemeanor Fraudulent use of a Credit Card if, in any 6-month period, a credit card is unlawfully used:

  1. Less than two times; and
  2. Items valued at less than $100 were obtained.

The crime of Misdemeanor Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards is classified as a First Degree Misdemeanor. If convicted of Misdemeanor Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to one (1) year in jail.
  • Up to one (1) year of probation.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.

Felony Fraudulent use of a Credit Card

It is Felony Fraudulent use of a Credit Card if, in any 6-month period, a credit card is unlawfully used:

  1. More than two times; or
  2. Items valued at more than $100 was obtained.

The crime of Felony Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 2 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Felony Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Defenses to Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards are:

Double Jeopardy

As most credit card offenses and theft offenses are considered degrees of the same offense, only one conviction can be imposed if a person is charged with multiple credit card and theft offenses. Any additional or subsequently charges offenses are subject to dismissal on double jeopardy grounds. [2]

Intent to Defraud

Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards requires proof of intent to defraud a merchant at the time of a transaction. If a person accurately represents that they are not the cardholder and intends to pay the cardholder back, then they lack the intent necessary for conviction. [3]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Neal v. State (Fla. 2nd DCA 2013)
  2. Ross v. State, 760 So. 2d 214 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000)
  3. A.M. v. State, 794 So. 2d 645 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001)