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Grand Larceny Credit Card

Credit cards fall under the delineation of an individual’s personal property. The numbers on the cards represent an agreement strictly between the account holder and the bank honoring any financial transactions with the cards. Only the authorized account holder and those he/she gives specific approval to may use the cards to make purchases or advance funds. Persons who use a credit card without authorization would be committing a crime.

Even those who do not use the credit card can be charged with a serious felony. “Merely” stealing a credit card in the state of New York may lead to charges of Credit Card Grand Larceny & Theft under Penal Law §155.30(4). Again, credit cards are someone’s personal property. Any person who steals a credit card deprives someone of possession of his or her property. This is an abbreviated definition of larceny.

Credit Cards and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

A person may be charged with and convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree when he/she commits any one of a number of enumerated offenses listed in the penal code. Stealing anything with a value that exceeds $1,000 would be one. Stealing property consisting of a credit card or debit card reflects another.

Again, no one needs to actually make unauthorized charges on the card to be charged with fourth-degree larceny. And the charge rises above a misdemeanor. Grand larceny in the fourth degree constitutes a Class E felony.

No Affirmative Decision to Steal a Credit Card Necessary

Someone who breaks into a home, rummages through drawers, and steals a credit card clearly had the intent to commit larceny. The same would be true of a person who removed credit cards from a wallet. What happens if the person only wanted the money in the wallet, but happened to take the credit card inside of it? The person likely would face charges of fourth-degree larceny. A furniture thief who steals a desk worth $100 with credit cards inside the drawer could be charged with fourth-degree larceny as well since credit cards were stolen with the desk.

A person does not need to make an affirmative decision to steal credit cards. If he/she has stolen something and credit cards are part of the take, the individual may be found charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree. The compounding of multiple charges probably won’t be avoidable.

Anyone charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree positively should contact a criminal defense attorney without delay. Even so, the accused could run the risk of already making the matter worse for him/herself. Making a statement to the police to the effect of “I didn’t know the credit cards were in the box I stole” may be used as evidence in court. A prosecutor could very well take such a statement as an admission of guilt.

The Penalties for Grand Larceny Related to Credit Cards

The penalties for this offense are listed under the category of non-violent Class E felonies. All class E felonies come with a maximum possible prison sentence of up to four years. A first-time offender looks at the prospect of a 1 1/3 year prison stay. Monetary fines might be imposed as well. Specific fine amounts are $5,000 or double what the defendant was proven to have gained from the commission of the act.

Hiring the best possible counsel when charged with credit card grand larceny in the fourth degree becomes imperative due to the seriousness of the charges. The narrow scope of New York law seemingly narrows the defenses. A skilled criminal defense attorney looks at all the circumstances surrounding the charges and accusations.

Did someone unknowingly and accidentally hand over credit cards to a friend in, say, a folder and then accused the equally-unknowing party of credit card theft? Was the credit card falsely planted by a third party? Was the police’s search illegal? The answers to these questions factor heavily into how the hypothetical cases are defended in a court of law.

Persons found guilty face sentences that take the circumstances of the case and the prior criminal history of the defendant into account. An attorney may be able to compel the court to keep the sentence as reasonable and fair as possible. In some cases, a workable plea bargain can be reached before the case even goes to trial. A plea bargain may be the best approach for some.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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