In the 21st century, cash is rarely used to make purchases or pay bills. Instead, most of us use electronic forms of payment or credit/debit cards. Just as you can be charged with theft of cash, you can be charged with the theft of a credit card in the State of Florida. The State Credit Card Crime Act addresses credit card crimes in Florida and provides the penalties for a conviction of one of the provisions of the Act.
Florida Statute 817.60 describes the criminal offense of theft using a credit card and states, in pertinent part:
“A person who takes a credit card from the person, possession, custody, or control of another without the cardholder's consent or who, with the knowledge that it has been so taken, receives the credit card with intent to use it, to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder is guilty of credit card theft”
The same statute also makes it a crime to possess with the intent to use a credit card that you know was lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake to the wrong address and to buy or sell a credit card unless you are the issuer of the credit card. Finally, the statute makes it a crime to obtain a credit card as security for a debt. Specifically, the statute reads:
“A person who, with intent to defraud the issuer, a person or organization providing money, goods, services, or anything else of value, or any other person, obtains control over a credit card as security for a debt.”
All of the offenses found in Statute 817.60, and that are part of the State Credit Card Crime Act are punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third degree. A first degree misdemeanor in Florida is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A third-degree felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Although the State Credit Card Crime Act directly addresses many criminal offenses, the Act is not exclusive, meaning that there are crimes outside of the Act that could include the illegal use of a credit card in Florida.
If you have been charged with theft of a credit card in St. Petersburg, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney by calling the law offices of Powers Sellers and Finkelstein PLC at 727-531-2926 and scheduling your free consultation.