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Credit Card Fraud Charges In Colorado

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If you have been charged with credit card fraud in Colorado, it’s in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights as you go through the criminal justice system. A skilled attorney can evaluate your case and try to get the charges against you dropped or reduced. Until you have the chance to consult with a lawyer, the following overview about credit card fraud charges in Colorado provides examples of credit card fraud, penalties for a conviction, crimes closely related to credit card fraud, and when you need to call an attorney for credit card fraud charges in Colorado.

Examples of Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud typically falls under the criminal possession of a financial device (C.R.S § 18-5-903). The person who has the device knows, or should know, it is lost or stolen. A financial device is a broad legal term that refers to any instrument someone uses to get cash, credit, personal property, services, or anything else of value. It also refers to any instrument someone uses to make payments. The most common examples are credit cards, debit cards, checks, and money orders.

Credit card fraud also falls under other Colorado statutes, such as:

  • Unauthorized Use of a Financial Device (C.R.S. § 18-5-702)
  • Purchase on Credit to Defraud (C.R.S. § 18-5-207)
  • Identity Theft (C.R.S. § 18-5-902)

Examples of credit card fraud include:

  • Fake Phone Calls. A person calls someone under false pretenses to steal credit card information over the phone.
  • False Credit Applications. A person uses someone else’s information to apply for a credit card under their name.
  • Counterfeit Credit Cards. A person creates a counterfeit magnetic swipe card with a copy of the real cardholder’s identification.
  • Mail Interception. A person intercepts a new or replacement credit card, activates it, and uses it to make purchases.
  • Damaged Cards. A person uses a strong magnet to damage a credit card and erase its information. They purchase things by manually entering the card online or having a clerk manually enter details without swiping.

Account Takeover. A person obtains credit card information online and gets a card sent to them at the address of their choosing.

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What Are the Possible Penalties for Credit Card Fraud Charges in Colorado?

If you get convicted of credit card fraud you face various penalties including fines and jail time. The amount of fine and amount of jail time depends on the exact charges, the number of credit cards you have in your possession, and the value of any fraudulent purchases. A conviction for the criminal possession or unauthorized use of a financial device can be a misdemeanor or felony.

For example, those convicted of criminal possession of a financial device face a class 1 misdemeanor that carries six to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. If someone has two or more credit cards in their possession, they automatically get charged for a class 6 felony, which carries the same jail time, but comes with a fine of up to $100,000 and mandatory parole for one year.

The penalties get steeper with more cards. Penalties also get steeper if you get caught for the same crime multiple times. Additionally, once someone uses a stolen card and spends at least $2,000, they face felony charges. Those who make fraudulent charges that total $1,000,000 face a minimum of eight years in prison, but could face up to 24 years. They also face up to a $1,000,000 fine.

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Crimes Related to Credit Card Fraud Charges in Colorado

If you were charged with the criminal possession or unauthorized use of a credit card, it’s possible you have other charges against you too. Credit card fraud often involves other crimes, including identity theft, fraudulent credit purchases, and larceny.

  • Identity Theft. Using another person’s credit card means someone is impersonating them and is a form of identity theft, a class 4 felony in Colorado. A conviction for identity theft carries up to a six-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $500,000.
  • Purchase on Credit to Defraud. People can commit fraud with their own credit cards/credit. One way this occurs is by purchasing something with a credit card or with credit and selling the property before paying for it. A conviction comes with up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Larceny. Stealing someone’s credit cards or creating fraudulent credit cards is a form of theft and carries the same type of penalties as the unauthorized use of a credit card.

When Should I Call an Attorney for Credit Card Fraud Charges in Colorado?

It’s always in your best interest to consult with a defense attorney if you are facing credit card fraud charges. Even the most lenient penalties involve jail time and fines. An experienced lawyer can review your case, advise you on your best defense, and give you the best chance of getting the case dropped or facing reduced charges. Maybe you had permission to use the card, you did not know you had a stolen card, or you did not intend to defraud anyone. An attorney can advocate for you and protect your rights as you go through the criminal justice process.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or
    Summons
    01

    Arrest or
    Summons

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing
    02

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of
    Charges
    03

    Advisement of
    Charges

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)
    04

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing
    05

    Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment
    06

    Arraignment

    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing
    07

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness
    Conference
    08

    Pretrial Readiness
    Conference

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial
    09

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing
    Date
    10

    Sentencing
    Date

    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines
  • Class 3

  • Up to 6 months of county jail, and/or
  • $50 to $750 in fines2

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4 – 12 years in prison, and/or
  • $3,000 – $750,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 3 felonies, the maximum sentence is 16 years in prison.
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.

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How serious is credit card fraud?

Credit card fraud can be a very serious crime. Even a minor charge can result in serious penalties. When credit card fraud is elevated to felony charges, however, you would likely be looking at a prison sentence in addition to other penalties.

How much money in credit card fraud is a felony?

Generally, using a credit card fraudulently to secure goods or services in excess of $1,000 would result in felony charges.

Is credit card fraud a criminal offense?

Yes, fraudulently procuring or using a credit card is a criminal offense and will be prosecuted as such.

Experienced Credit Card Fraud Lawyer

Colorado Springs Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Near You

When you’re charged with credit card fraud in Colorado, you need a lawyer who is familiar with the laws and knows how the court system works. Criminal defense attorneys work with you to help you establish a strong defense. Even if you believe that a conviction is inevitable, a Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer can help you fight for a lesser charge, a reduced sentence, or another more favorable outcome. Contact us right away for a free case consultation.