Credit Or Debit Card Defined
NRS 205.690 applies to both credit and debit cards, which look identical but serve different purposes. A debit card is linked to a person’s bank account while a credit card draws from a line of credit. However, you don’t need to possess a physical card to be charged with this offense; it’s also illegal under NRS 205.690(5)(a) simply to have someone else’s credit or debit card information without their consent. In other words, if you don’t have someone else’s physical card and instead copied down the card number (without permission), you could be breaking this law.
Credit Card Fraud Charges in Nevada
Credit Card Fraud offenses can be complex and charged in a variety of different ways. If you don’t have experienced legal representation from a Las Vegas criminal attorney, you may be facing enhanced consequences. The following are some of the Nevada statutes that make credit card and debit card fraud illegal:
Penalties For Credit Card Fraud In Las Vegas, NV
The punishment for having or using a credit card is the same, whether the person only had it or if they sold it to someone else. These crimes are taken especially seriously in Nevada and require a skilled Las Vegas credit card fraud attorney with experience handling these types of cases. If you are convicted of a crime related to fraudulently using or obtaining credit/debit card information in Nevada, you could face the following penalties:
For credit card fraud that is prosecuted as a category D felony, the penalties are as follows:
- From 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison
- Up to $5,000 in potential fines and the potential for restitution paid to the victim of the fraud
For credit card fraud that is prosecuted as a Gross Misdemeanor, the penalties are:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Up to $2,000 in potential fines
For knowingly using a credit or debit card that is expired or has been revoked, the penalties can vary:
- For an amount of less than $100 within 6 months, the crime is a misdemeanor and can result in up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in potential fines.
- For an amount of over $100 within 6 months, the crime is a category D felony, which can result in 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and restitution to the legal cardholder.
State vs Federal Prosecution For Credit Card Fraud Charges
As mentioned above, credit card fraud can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level.
Fraud cases that go to court usually happen at the state or local level. How a fraud case is dealt with and how severe the punishment varies from state to state. For example, it depends on if the person committing fraud has done it before, how much money was stolen, whether they did it on purpose (instead of accidentally using someone’s credit card information), and if the victim was elderly. Depending on the offense, a felony charge in some states is separated into different categories. These classifications are usually based on each state’s identity theft laws and are noted on this page from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
It may sound complicated, but credit card fraud becomes a federal crime when it “affects interstate or foreign commerce.” All you need to do is make an online purchase with someone else’s credit card, or use a card issued to someone in another state. Federal penalties for using a “device” to commit fraud (the law defines a credit card as such a device) can include up to 20 years in prison, plus fines and forfeiture of personal assets.
According to the Department of Justice, there are a number of federal crimes that fraudulent credit card use falls under, including computer fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and financial institution fraud. These penalties can result in up to 30 years in prison.
Defenses To Credit Card Fraud Charges In Nevada
There are various potential defenses that your Las Vegas credit card fraud lawyer can deploy for you when you have been accused of credit card fraud charges in Nevada. Some of the possible defenses to this crime include the following:
- Mistaken identity: Even if a merchant said you were swiping a stolen credit card, they could be wrong or misremembering. It is the prosecutor’s job to prove that you committed the offense, and if there is doubt, then you shouldn’t be convicted.
- Lack of evidence: If the prosecutor does not have enough evidence, you cannot be convicted. It is sometimes possible to stop illegally-obtained evidence from being used against you. For example, if the police conducted an unlawful search of your person or home, any consequent gathered evidence should be inadmissible because your constitutional rights were violated by the said act. A legal counsel can help you file a petition to suppress any illegally-acquired evidence.
- Lack of intent to defraud: If you use someone else’s credit card by mistake or if you make a mistake when entering your information on a credit card application, there is no intent to defraud so you should not be convicted.