CategoryFiled under: Economic Crimes

Illegal possession or fraudulent use of a credit card in Tennessee is one of the state’s theft crimes. It is found in Tennessee Code Annotated 39-14-118.

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Possession of someone else’s card and actual use of it are two different crimes. A person commits the crime of illegal possession of a credit or debit card who, knowing that they do not have the consent of the owner or issuer, takes, exercises control over or otherwise uses that card or information from that card. Fraudulent use of a credit or debit card is when a person uses, or allows to be used, a credit or debit card or information from that card, for the purpose of obtaining property, credit, services, or anything else of value. The person must do so with the knowledge that the card is forged or stolen, the card is revoked or cancelled, the card is expired and the person uses the card with fraudulent intent, or for any other reason the use of the card is unauthorized by either the issuer or the owner. Fraudulent use of a credit card in Tennessee is punished the same way as theft of property. If it’s $500 or less it is a misdemeanor. Over $500 is a felony, and the greater the amount the more punishment it brings. For instance, fraudulent use of a credit card for $2500 will bring more punishment than $501. $10,000 will bring even greater punishment. Fraudulent possession of a credit card, where no property, credit, services, or goods are actually received or obtained, is a misdemeanor. Since there was nothing actually taken, there is no dollar amount on which to punish the crime. The possession itself is the crime. If you’ve been charged with this offense, you should talk to a Memphis fraud defense lawyer. You may have legitimate defenses that should be brought to the court’s attention. Did you actually commit credit card fraud? Did you have the intent to use the card fraudulently or did you think it was legal? Did you have the owner’s consent? Are there bank or credit card statements that could prove your innocence? Economic crimes, especially electronic ones, can be very complex, and these sorts of issues must always be explored. People charged with fraudulent use of a credit card in Tennessee will want to know if they will go to jail and will they receive a permanent criminal conviction. As for going to jail, probably not if he or she does not have an extensive criminal record. It’s a non-violent offense, and if you’re convicted and you show the judge you are sincere in accepting responsibility, you’ll probably receive probation. Additionally, if you’re a first-time offender you would be eligible to have the charge removed from your record under Tennessee’s diversion law. Whether you are charged with credit card fraud in Memphis, Collierville, Somerville, Covington, or other parts of West Tennessee, you should explore all options and talk to the right attorney. For help with your case, please contact Memphis credit card fraud lawyer Patrick Stegall. You can phone him at (901) 205-9894 or email him at

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