The state of Illinois is serious when it comes to credit card fraud, and you could find yourself facing a lengthy jail sentence if a jury finds you guilty of committing it.
What is Credit Card Fraud in Illinois?
Several crimes fall under the term “credit card fraud.” Under Illinois law, those crimes include:
- Making a false statement to get a credit or debit card
- Possession of someone else’s credit or debit card without the person’s consent and with the intent to use, sell or transfer it
- Possession of a lost credit or debit card if you know it’s lost and you intend to use, sell or transfer it
- Selling or buying a credit or debit card without the issuer’s consent
- Using someone’s credit card as “collateral” for a debt
- Using a counterfeit, forged, expired, revoked or unissued card
- Using a credit card or debit card to defraud someone
What are the Punishments for Credit Card Convictions in Illinois?
If the prosecution successfully proves you guilty of some type of credit card fraud or debit card fraud, you could be sentenced to time in prison.
Many credit card fraud crimes are considered Class 4 felonies in Illinois, but the use of a credit or debit card with the intent to defraud is a Class A misdemeanor if less than $150 in property was obtained through the fraudulent use within a 6-month period. If more than $300 was obtained over a 6-month period, it’s a Class 3 felony.
Some sentences are longer than others, such as a recent case in Chicago of a man purchasing stolen credit card numbers from a website.
What to Do if You’re Charged with Credit Card Fraud
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to speak to police or investigators without your lawyer present. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep quiet and ask to call a Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as you have the opportunity. This is extremely important – even if you’re innocent. You don’t want the police to misunderstand anything you say and later use your own words against you.
Your lawyer will be able to preserve your rights during questioning and he will be there for you when a judge formally reads your charges at your arraignment. He’ll also guide you along the way to make sure you understand what’s going on with your case and, at the same time, he’ll build your defense.
Possible Defenses Against Credit Card Fraud Charges
No two cases are alike. Your attorney will be able to build a defense strategy based on the individual circumstances surrounding your case. Possible defenses can include:
- Abandonment of criminal purpose
- Infancy (being under 13 years of age)
It’s important that you trust your lawyer. He knows the court system and he understands the possible penalties you’re facing.