This offense is different from many of the other fraud crimes in the Sunshine State in that credit card fraud can be personal or impersonal. In some cases, credit card fraud is basically unauthorized use. That could be using a card without permission or using it for unapproved purposes. In other cases, credit card fraud involves identity theft. It’s relatively easy for scammers to obtain such information. Regardless of the facts, the penalties for credit card fraud are quite high.
If you face such charges, you need a dedicated Orlando credit card fraud lawyer from the O’Mara Law Group on your side. Credit card fraud is different from credit card misuse. Fraud includes some complicated additional elements, such as the user’s intent. So, we thoroughly evaluate the facts to identify all possible defenses. Once we identify the weak spots, we aggressively attack the state’s evidence. This approach usually produces results that exceed our clients’ expectations.
Elements of the Offense
Basically, the elements of credit card fraud are intentionally using a card without permission with the further intent to deprive a person of institution of property or services.
As hinted above, accidents and misunderstandings are common in this area. For example, the card’s owner frequently authorizes certain uses but does not specifically prohibit others. In other situations, the card owner allows one-time use, and the defendant understandably believes that further uses are authorized as well.
There are other complexities as well. Frequently, credit card fraud is a two-step process. First, the defendant takes the card or copies the information on it without permission. Technically, the defendant hasn’t committed credit card fraud at that point. The charges usually don’t hold up in court unless the defendant uses, or tries to use, the card.
Furthermore, some defendants do not have the requisite intent when they use cards. Instead of planning to take services or property, they plan to embarrass the card holder or simply show off their hacking or thieving skills.
Since these prosecutions have so many moving parts, there are plenty of holes for an Orlando credit card fraud lawyer to exploit in court.
What to Expect in a Credit Card Fraud Matter
Sometimes, these cases are state criminal law cases. That’s especially true if the issuing bank or other organization was a state-chartered institution and the defendant was unable to complete the fraudulent transaction.
Most state criminal cases settle out of court. The prosecutor and defense attorney have almost complete control of this process. If a defense applies, it’s easier to obtain a favorable deal. Lack of intent is a good example. Fraud is a specific intent crime. The defendant must intend both the conduct (taking the card) and the result (using the card). Voluntary intoxication is a defense to such offenses. Legally, drunk people cannot formulate the necessary criminal mindset.
Most credit card fraud cases are federal cases. These cases also usually settle out of court, but the process is different.
The Federal Sentencing Act recommends sentences, based primarily on the defendant’s criminal record and any “mitigating circumstances,” such as restitution made or extenuating circumstances which explain why the defendant committed the crime. Although the judge has more control over the plea bargaining process in federal court, prosecutors and defense attorneys are still relatively free to reach an agreement on their own.
Reach Out to a Savvy Orange County Lawyer
Fraud accusations do not necessarily lead to fraud convictions. For a confidential consultation with an experienced credit card fraud attorney in Orlando, contact the O’Mara Law Group, Attorneys at Law. Convenient payment plans are available.
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