Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

What happens to those who stole a credit card?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Credit card theft is a prevalent issue in California, with a significant number of reported cases each year. The state’s large population and busy financial scene make it a hotspot for criminals. Despite efforts from law enforcement and banks to stop it, credit card theft remains a persistent challenge.

The California Penal Code 484(e) addresses various aspects of credit card fraud and theft, taking into account the intentions and actions of the perpetrator.

Understanding grand theft for unauthorized transactions

When an individual is caught transferring or selling a credit card without the owner’s consent, especially with the intent to defraud the cardholder, they can be charged with grand theft. This is a grave offense and carries significant penalties. The offender may face substantial fines and a potential prison sentence if convicted.

Petty theft for illicit retention or acquisition

In cases where someone keeps or gets a credit card without the owner’s consent, intending to misuse it or transfer its information unlawfully, the charge may be petty theft. While considered a less severe offense compared to grand theft, petty theft still results in criminal charges, including fines and the possibility of incarceration.

The complexity of multiple victims

In some instances, a defendant may gain access to credit cards belonging to more than four individuals without their consent. This complex scenario can lead to grand theft charges. The severity of the charges can vary, and the classification for grand theft can be either as a felony or a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction may result in a jail sentence of up to 12 months, while a felony conviction can lead to imprisonment for up to three years.

The California Penal Code 484(e) serves as a legal safeguard against credit card theft and fraud. Whether an individual faces grand theft or petty theft charges under this statute, it would be wise to seek legal counsel to understand the legal implications fully. Doing so can also help explore possible defenses when confronting the serious allegations tied to credit card-related offenses.