What to Expect When Arrested for Credit Card Fraud

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people living in the US fall victim to fraud that is estimated to cost the national economy a hefty amount of dollars. Credit card fraud is defined in California’s laws as simply the use of or even an attempt to use a debit card, credit card, or even account number of a particular card in a manner that is not lawful. It implies that if you use a debit or credit card in a way that is considered fraudulent or in a manner that the card use results in a loss to another person and in an undeserved benefit, then you should be convicted. If you or a family member has been arrested for being involved in credit card fraud give the top Fresno criminal defense lawyer a call today!

Busted for credit/debit card theft? Here is what to expect!

Using someone else’s credit or debit card without their consent may seem to be one of the quickest ways to getting yourself some much-needed instant money or treat yourself to with a luxury you otherwise could not afford. However, this is could easily cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars or land you in jail for many years or even both!

Legally, fraud is acts of dishonesty, to say the least. Debt fraud may involve intentional deception or misrepresentation. If you are caught committing fraud, you should call an attorney as soon as possible.

California’s credit and debit card fraud laws are available in the Penal code in the following sections:

  • 484e;
  • 484f;
  • 484g;
  • 484h;
  • 484j PC

These laws are presumably intended to punish a variety of fraudulent practices involving fraudulent use of credit cards and debit cards, and specifically prohibit:

  • Altering;
  • Counterfeiting;
  • Stealing;
  • Forging;
  • Or publishing disseminating info to another individual about their credit cards or debit cards;

If you are arrested for credit or debit card-related fraud and presented in a courtroom by a prosecutor, the exact nature of your crime will dictate the penalties you will face. In general, in California, could be charged for any of the following offences.

Petty theft

Petty theft is a crime that involves stealing someone else’s credit/debit card or receiving a stolen credit/debit card. Selling or buying stolen credit/debit cards also fall into this category. This violation can be punishable as a class A misdemeanor and offenders may be subjected to a fine of up $1000 or 6 months in county jail.


Making a false credit card or debit card with the intention to defraud any participating party, a credit card company, or entities offering goods, services, or assets can be considered as grand theft. This kind of fraud is classified as a class D felony and, if convicted, you could be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence for up to five years.

Grand theft

This is another credit card or debit card fraud punishable in the same way as a crime for forgery.

What do to now?

As soon as you are arrested, it is imperative that you immediately hire a reputable attorney. It is essential to do that before your first courtroom appearance or arraignment. This is indeed what you will expect during your first appearance:

  • Arraignment – Your name will be first called out and requested to appear before a judge;
  • Charges & rights – The presiding judge will read out the charges as presented by the prosecutor. He will also read out your rights;
  • Representation – The judge will want to know if you have a lawyer representing you;
  • Make plea – For the record, you will be asked to make a plea of Not Guilty or Guilty;
  • Bail – Based on the nature of your crime, the judge can release you on bail terms so you can return to court at a later date for the next hearing

Being represented adequately by a reputable attorney will not only prepare you to face the charges but also help you through the process.

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