Credit card fraud is a serious crime in the state of Arizona. It is the crime of taking or possession of another person’s credit card without their consent. If you use a credit card or are the recipient of anything purchased with a credit card you are fully aware to be stolen, you can also be convicted of this crime. Your potential sentence depends on the value of the items obtained.

It helps to define the terms in a credit card fraud or theft.

“Credit card” refers to any instrument or device, whether known as a credit card, charge card, debit card, credit plate, courtesy card or identification card or by any other name, that is issued for the use of the cardholder in acquiring money, goods, services or anything that has value.

“Cardholder” refers to either the person whose name is on the face of a credit card to whom or for whose benefit the credit card is issued by an issuer or the person who possesses the credit card with the consent of the person to whom the credit card was issued.

What Constitutes Credit Card Fraud in Arizona?

While the usual theft charges vary based on the value of the stolen item, Arizona laws are clear on what comprises credit card theft. A person is charged with credit card theft even if the stolen credit card has not been used as long as he or she is proven to:

  • Possess or take someone else’s credit card without the cardholder’s permission.
  • Sell a credit card with the intent to defraud
  • Possess or control someone else’s credit card as collateral for debt with the intent to defraud.

What Are the Consequences of A Credit Card Fraud Conviction?

Credit card fraud is a Class 5 felony in Arizona and has serious penalties of jail time, fines, probation, and possible restitution to the victim(s).

Credit card theft carries with it a jail time of 6  months to a maximum of 2.5 years, while the presumptive sentence is 1.5 years.

Furthermore,  if the person has been found to have received anything purchased with the stolen card, aside from stealing it, criminal charges may be filed against the offender. The classification of the charges depend on the value of the purchased item:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor – less than $250
  • Class 6 felony – between $250 and $1,000
  • Class 5 felony – over $1,000

If a person is convicted of receiving items purchased from a stolen credit card, he or she could face anywhere from 6 months to 2 years in prison.

Possible restitution to a victim may involve filing a civil suit against the fraudster who has used his or her personal identifying information. The court may award the victim the costs of identity theft, including the costs of clearing the victim’s credit history, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.

Arizona criminal laws may be complicated to those who are not familiar with the state laws. If you are charged with credit card fraud or credit card theft, it is crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the law. Our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Snader Law Group have extensive experience and will be able to build a viable defense that may lessen your sentence, or better yet, keep you out of jail. Call us now for a free initial consultation.