For all the debt-related risks they carry, credit cards remain one of the most convenient ways to purchase things. They allow buyers to purchase even the most expensive goods almost instantly, and some cards even have rewards and perks for constant use.
You might’ve seen your parents or other relatives use their credit cards to make purchases quickly, and they can be tempting to use. Taking a relative’s card to buy your stuff might seem like a harmless prank, but you could face criminal charges for such a stunt.
Credit card crimes
Taking someone’s credit card – even a close relative’s – is considered theft. According to South Carolina law, it’s a crime if you take away a payment card without the consent of the person whose name appears on the card, especially if you took the card with the intent to spend.
Spending using a card that’s not yours is also a crime. Specifically, state law considers this fraud, and you could face charges for not only using a card that’s not yours but also spending enough to exceed the card’s limit.
Penalties for credit card crimes
You could face a felony conviction with a fine of up to $5,000 and a maximum prison sentence of five years just for stealing a credit card from a relative.
A South Carolina court can also separately charge you for using a stolen card. If you spent a maximum of $500 within six months using the stolen card, you could be charged a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1,000 and jail time of up to a whole year. But if you spend more than $500, authorities can slap you with a felony conviction with a maximum $5,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence.
If you knowingly exceed the credit limit of a stolen card by $500 or 50% of the credit limit (whichever is higher) and fail to repay the card issuer within ten days of notice, you could also face another misdemeanor conviction. The conviction is punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and a one-year prison sentence.
Credit card crimes are costly and can ruin the future career opportunities of any convicted young adult. If you or a relative is facing such charges, you might want to consider seeking the advice of a lawyer with white collar crime experience. A lawyer can help defend the accused’s rights in court and negotiate for lighter penalties, especially for those too young to understand their mistakes.