Being charged with theft of any type—including identity theft and credit card theft—can have major implications on your criminal record and your future. In Massachusetts, the state takes credit card theft very seriously. If you have been charged with credit card theft or related charges, it’s important that you seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To learn more, call The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski today for a consultation.
Defining Credit Card Theft
If you use someone else’s credit card, you run the risk of being charged with two potential crimes:
- Credit card fraud. Credit card fraud is defined as the “fraudulent use of credit cards to obtain money, goods, or services.”
- Identity theft. Identity theft is similar, and is defined as posing “as another person without the express authorization of that person” and using the person’s identifying information to “obtain or attempt to obtain money, credit, goods, services, anything of value, any identification card or other evidence of such person’s identity, or to harass another.”
The above definitions are found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 37C and Chapter 266 Section 37E.
Penalties for Credit Card Theft
If you use someone’s credit card without their permission or/and use their identity without their permission (which could include using their credit cards and could result in a separate charge) and you are convicted, you could face serious penalties. The penalties for credit card fraud in Massachusetts are a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for between 2.5 and five years, or both a fine and imprisonment. Identity theft is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for a period of up to 2.5 years, or both a fine and imprisonment. Again, charges may be stacked, resulting in more severe penalties.
What to Do if You’re Facing Charges for Credit Card Theft in Massachusetts
If you’re facing charges for credit card theft in Massachusetts, the first thing that you should do is call a reputable criminal defense attorney who can help you to understand the charges against you and your legal options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to build a case that disproves the prosecution’s allegations and establishes your innocence. For example, your attorney may be able to prove that you had the permission of the credit card holder to use their credit card.
In other cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. A plea bargain is an arrangement in which you plead guilty in exchange for lesser charges or reduced sentencing.
Call Attorney Paul Moraski Today
If you are facing charges for credit card theft, don’t hesitate to take action to protect yourself. At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer will advocate for your best interests. Call (978) 397-0011 today for a consultation.