Illinois Credit Card Fraud Laws
Credit card fraud is considered a serious crime in Illinois, as it is in most U.S. states. Governed by the Illinois Criminal Code, 720/5/17-31 et seq., credit card fraud encompasses a broad range of activities that involve deceptive or unauthorized use of another's credit card information. The penalties for this crime can be severe.
Acts That Constitute Credit Card Fraud
Under Illinois law, credit card fraud can take on many forms, all of which are punishable under the state's criminal code. These include:
- Obtaining a credit card by fraudulent means. This includes obtaining a credit card by making false statements about your identity or financial situation. This offense is considered a Class 4 felony.
- Possessing a stolen or lost credit card. Possessing a credit card that you know to be lost, stolen, or delivered by mistake without notifying the cardholder or issuer is also considered credit card fraud. This type of credit card fraud is also considered a Class 4 felony.
- Using a revoked or expired credit card. Using a credit card that has been revoked, expired, unissued, counterfeited, or forged with the intent to defraud the issuer or a person who is providing a good or service is illegal. This offense is a Class 4 felony if the goods obtained with the credit card do not exceed three hundred dollars. However, if the credit card is used to pay for over $300, the offense is a Class 3 felony.
- Sale or purchase of credit card. If a person buys or sells a credit card that was issued to someone else (without that person’s consent), that is a Class 4 felony. If a person buys or sells credit cards without the issuer’s consent three or more times, the charges can be enhanced to a Class 3 felony.
- Fraudulent use of a credit card. A cardholder who knowingly uses their own credit or debit card or permits someone else to use it, with the intention of cheating the card issuer, a provider of valuable goods or services, or any other individual is committing a Class A misdemeanor if the total value of all defrauded items stays under $150 within any six-month timeframe. However, if the defrauded amount exceeds $150 within such a period, the offense elevates to a Class 4 felony.
Credit Card Fraud Penalties
As we mentioned, the charges can vary based on the specific act of fraud committed. Here is a breakdown of the penalties:
- Class 4 felonies are publishable by up to six years of imprisonment and hefty fines.
- Class 3 felonies are punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment as well as hefty fines.
- Class A misdemeanors are punishable by no more than a year in jail.
Why You Need Experienced Legal Counsel If Facing Fraud Charges
When charged with credit card fraud in Illinois, your freedom, reputation, and financial stability are all at stake. To navigate this complex legal terrain, you need a strong advocate who understands the intricacies of the Illinois criminal justice system and has a deep knowledge of the specific laws regarding credit card fraud.
An experienced criminal defense attorney brings to the table years of experience in defending such cases. They have a thorough understanding of the evidence needed by the prosecution to secure a conviction and are adept at finding weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
A proficient criminal defense attorney will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the charges and evidence against you. They will scrutinize every detail of the case, from the initial police report to the manner in which the evidence was collected and preserved.
In many instances, credit card fraud cases hinge on digital evidence, which requires specialized knowledge to interpret correctly. An experienced attorney will know how to analyze this data and may even bring in expert witnesses to challenge the prosecution's interpretation of the evidence.
A cornerstone of any criminal defense strategy is challenging the prosecution's evidence. This could involve questioning the reliability of the evidence, arguing that it was obtained illegally, or suggesting that it is not strong enough to support a conviction.
Your attorney will meticulously dissect the prosecution's case, looking for any opportunity to create reasonable doubt. They can challenge the authenticity of the credit card transactions, the identification of the defendant, and the intent behind the alleged fraudulent activity.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can often use their knowledge of the law and their negotiation skills to secure a more favorable outcome for their clients. This could involve negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the charges or the penalties associated with a conviction.
You Can Trust Our Defense Attorneys
At the Johnson Law Group, our attorneys are backed by over a century of legal experience, and we are known for providing our clients with honest and reliable legal counsel. From collecting evidence to developing a personalized strategy and case arguments and helping you obtain the best possible case results, our team works closely with our clients throughout the entirety of their cases.
Call (309) 565-8825 to request a case consultation today.