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In Bucks County, committing any type of fraudulent activity with the use of a credit card is considered access device. This is against the law. In fact, the Commonwealth has devoted a criminal statute to outlining the crime, offenses and penalties associated with credit card fraud.
The Definition of Credit Card Fraud in Bucks County
The specific definition of credit card fraud is outlined in the statute 18 Pa.C.S.A. 4106. According to the statute, a person can be convicted of credit card fraud if they knowingly use or try to use a credit card that is:
•Canceled or revoked
•Altered, counterfeit or incomplete
•Valid, but you have not been given permission to use it by the cardholder
It is also unlawful for a person to attempt to or convince a third party to use a credit card in any of the above circumstances. Also, it is important to explain that you can be charged with credit card fraud based on having the card in your possession. Yes, this means you don’t have to use the credit card to be charged with this crime. If you have more than two credit cards in your possession, the Commonwealth presumes that you know that you aren’t authorized to use the cards or that they are counterfeit.
Penalties for Credit Card Fraud in Bucks County
The exact credit card offense you’re charged with depends on the value of the services or goods obtained when using the credit card. For example, if the credit card charged was less than $50, you will be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. If you allegedly charged from $50 to $500, you will be charged with first degree misdemeanor credit card fraud. You can be charged with third degree felony for credit card fraud when you allegedly charge more than $500 of goods or services.
If convicted, you face either jail or prison time. The exact time behind bars is determined by your the criminal degree:
Second degree misdemeanor shoplifting: two years of incarceration
Third degree misdemeanor shoplifting: five years of incarceration
Third degree felony shoplifting: seven years in prison
In Bucks County, you may be charged multiple times for shoplifting. The reason for this is Pennsylvania law requires that each transaction be considered separate. For example, you allegedly used someone’s credit card three times. The first transaction was for $50, the second transaction was $250 and the last transaction was for $1,000. You could face second degree misdemeanor, second degree misdemeanor and third degree felony because they are considered separate unauthorized uses.
Possible Defenses to Shoplifting in Bucks County
It’s easy to be terrified because of the amount of time in jail or prison that a shoplifting conviction carries. However, it’s important to focus on building a strong defense to your credit card fraud charge. You have plenty of defenses available to you according to the facts in the case. The most common defenses include:
•Lack of intent to shoplift
•Lack of knowledge that your actions constituted shoplifting
•You had every intention to meet every obligation of the credit card issuer when you made the transaction
•You were the rightful owner of the credit card
Contact Our Law Office if You or a Loved One is Charged with Bucks County Credit Card Fraud
If you or a loved one has been charged in Bucks County with credit card fraud, it’s time to start fighting now. Out law offices understand that this is a frightening and stressful situation for you or your loved one. The thought of spending time behind bars for any amount of time to scary. However, you need to start fighting today. Contact us.
We are an experienced and aggressive legal team who will be with you from start to finish. We explain and protect your legal rights while building a strong defense for you. Let us start working on your case immediately.