Although other forms of electronic payments are becoming more common in Washington, D.C., credit cards are still many people's preferred payment method. This creates numerous opportunities for fraud. If you are charged with credit card fraud, other people may view you as dishonest, permanently damaging your reputation, even if the charge stemmed from a simple misunderstanding. You may face a civil lawsuit as well as criminal charges. You need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect your reputation and your freedom. The attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, have the experience you need to fight for you in any Washington, D.C. court.
What is Credit Card Fraud?
Washington, D.C. law specifies five ways a person commits credit card fraud. These include:
- Knowingly using a credit card or a credit card number issued to another person without that person's consent.
- Knowingly using a credit card or credit card number that has been canceled or revoked.
- Knowingly using a falsified, mutilated, or altered credit card or credit card number.
- Representing that you are a credit card holder and the credit card has not, in fact, been issued.
- If you are an employee or contractor, knowingly using your employer's credit card or credit card number for your own purpose, rather than your employer's purpose.
Credit Card Fraud Penalties in D.C.
The penalties for credit card fraud depend on the value of the property obtained through the fraudulent transaction.
If the value of the property is less than $1,000, you may face fines up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in prison. This is a misdemeanor charge.
If the value of the property obtained is more than $1,000, you face fines up to $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison. This is a felony charge.
Credit Card Fraud Defenses
Being charged with credit card fraud does not mean you committed the offense.
With technology becoming more sophisticated, you may be the victim of identity theft. Your identity may be stolen and used to steal someone else's data. Your attorney can show the court that you were not the person who committed the theft, but rather you, too, were a victim.
A key element of credit card fraud is that you knowingly commit the fraudulent act. If you believed you were authorized to use someone else's the credit card for the transaction, such as an employer's or a family member's, this is an honest mistake and not fraud.
Depending on the circumstances of the incident, you could be a victim of entrapment or coercion. Entrapment involves setting you up to commit a fraudulent act that you would not have otherwise committed. Coercion involves threats of violence or duress to force you to commit the fraudulent act.
Have You Been Charged With Credit Card Fraud in Washington, D.C.?
If you have been charged with credit card fraud in Washington, D.C., your reputation and your freedom are at stake. You need aggressive legal representation to protect you from long prison sentences, hefty fines, and additional civil lawsuits. If you have been charged with credit card fraud, contact the criminal defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, at (202) 489-0720 or online.