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Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards in Florida

According to Florida Statute §817.61, a person will face charges of fraudulent use of credit cards. If a person uses a credit card and the intention of that person is to defraud or deceive any merchant while that card was forged, obtained unlawfully, or even pretend that person is authorized by the actual cardholder to use this card and the person obtained services, goods, money, or anything else from the merchant. 

Aggregate Prosecution

Use of credit cards in fraudulent activities is a unique crime because if a person uses a credit card for fraudulent activities for not more than six months, it will be considered as a single criminal activity rather than multiple crimes. 

Penalties for Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

The penalties for this crime will depend on the following facts:
The market worth of goods purchased or obtained by a fraudulent person in six months, or
The total number of times a person used the credit card in six months 

Misdemeanor Fraudulent use of a Credit Card

If a credit card is used fraudulently it will be considered as misdemeanor fraudulent use of a credit card if the following conditions are met:
If a card is used only once in 6 months; and
If the total value of goods purchased with the card is less than $100
This criminal act is considered as a misdemeanor of first degree in Florida. A person may face any of the following legal punishments if found guilty of above mentioned charges:
Maximum one year of imprisonment
Maximum one year of probation
A fine of $1,000 

Felony Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card

If a credit card is used fraudulently it will be considered as felony fraudulent use of a credit card if the following conditions are met:

If a card is used three or more times in six months; or

If the total value of good purchased with the card is more than $100

In Florida, this crime is considered a felony of the third degree, and as per the Criminal punishment code of Florida, extortion is an offense of level 2. Any person found guilty of such charges may face any of the following legal punishments:

Imprisonment that may extend to 5 years

Probation that may extend to 5 years.

A fine of $5,000 

Defenses to Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

Double Jeopardy

Theft offenses and most of the credit card offenses are considered as offenses of the same category or degree. Therefore, a person can be convicted for one of these two crimes (credit card offense and theft offense) at a time. All additional charges will be dismissed because of double jeopardy grounds.

Intent to Defraud

The prosecutor must prove that there was the intention of defrauding the merchant when the transaction took place. If the accused can prove that he/she was not representing himself/herself as the cardholder and he/she intended to repay or payback the cardholder, he/she cannot be declared guilty in this case. 

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Larry Avallone

If you have been charged or arrested in the Daytona Beach area, contact Larry Avallone, who is an expert Criminal Defense Lawyer in Volusia County. My initial consultation is completely free. I am ready to provide legal advice regarding the next steps in your case.

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