Unlawful Use of a Credit Card

credit card theftBeing charged with stealing another person’s credit card or the unlawful use of a credit card are serious crimes in New Jersey.

It is crucial that you understand the ramifications of your actions and to be familiar with what New Jersey considers a lawful and unlawful use of a credit card.

 Credit Card Theft

Under New Jersey’s Credit Car Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6, there are several different crimes associated with credit cards.

Generally speaking, the most common is credit card theft. N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(c) enumerates six different types of credit card theft inNew Jersey:

  1. Taking a credit card without the cardholder’s consent
  2. Receiving a lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered credit card
  3. Selling or buying a credit card from someone other than the issuer (i.e. credit card company)
  4. Obtaining a credit card to secure a debt
  5. Falsely making, counterfeiting, or modifying a credit card
  6. Unauthorized signing of a credit card

We will discuss the first three since they are (in many cases) more commonly charged than the others. First, if you took or otherwise used someone else’s credit card and had the intent to improperly use it, you can be found guilty of credit card theft due to taking a credit card without the cardholder’s consent.

This usually arises when you obtain someone else’s credit card without getting their permission first. Remember, consent will not be considered legally valid if you got it or gave it through fraud, force, threat, deception, extortion, or false pretences. Furthermore,New Jersey law presumes that you are in violation of this if you were in possession of two or more credit cards issued in the name of two or more people other than yourself. Second, if you receive a credit card that was lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the identity or address of the cardholder, then you can be found guilty of credit card theft due to receiving a lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered credit card.

Interestingly, in NJ, the law considers credit cards “stolen” when they are wrongfully held or used.

Nevertheless, before you can be found guilty, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the card was lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered and that you had the intent to use, sell, or transfer the credit card to someone other than the cardholder or issuer. Lastly, if you knowingly buy or sell a credit card that you obtained from a person other than the issuer, you can be found guilty of credit card theft due to selling or purchasing stolen credit cards.

This third type of credit card theft is uniquely designed to prohibit the transference of stolen credit cards. Do not forget, NJ law considers any credit card that you obtain from a person other than the issuer (i.e. the credit card company) to be stolen.

 Penalties For Credit Card Theft

Each of the three crimes detailed above are fourth degree crimes. This means you can face up to 18 months behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, a conviction for credit card theft or the unlawful use of a credit card will go on your criminal record and follow you for the rest of your life (unless you successfully get it expunged).

Getting and keeping a job will be difficult, especially since theft-related offenses signal to employees that you are untrustworthy and deceptive. Therefore, it is crucial that you hire an experienced attorney who can help you avoid a conviction and all of the negative consequences that flow from one.

Who Should You Contact?

If you or a loved one has been charged with credit card theft in New Jersey (i.e. unlawful use of a credit card), contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm today. His team of defense attorneys will do what they can in order to protect your legal rights and fight to keep you out of prison. Mr. Rosenblum can be reached via e-mail or at 888-815-3649.