Don’t Use that Canceled Credit / Debit Card: NY Penal Law 165.17 – Unlawful Use of a Credit Card or Debit Card

It has happened to the best of us….even those who check their accounts daily. Maybe you just inadvertently went over your limit on your credit card or debit card. Well, in New York if you knowingly try to use that credit or debit card and it is “no good,” i.e., revoked or canceled, you may be charged with Unlawful Use of a Credit Card or Debit Card pursuant to New York Penal Law Section 165.17. While not as serious as the felony of possessing a stolen debit or credit card, this offense is still a crime.

According to the New York Penal Law 165.17 – Unlawful Use of a Credit or Debit Card:

A person is guilty of Unlawful Use of a Credit Card, Debit Card or Public Benefit Card when in the course of obtaining or attempting to obtain property or a service, he uses or displays a credit card, debit card or public benefit card which he knows to be revoked or canceled.

Unlawful Use of a Credit Card, Debit Card or Public Benefit Card is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

It is important to note that a “sister” law, New York Penal Law Section 165.15(1), Theft of Services, is very similar and also punishable by up to 1 year in jail. One of the distinctions between the two crimes, however, is that Theft of Services involves the use of a stolen credit or debit card while Unlawful Use of a Credit Card or Debit Card involves the use of a canceled instrument. Additionally, beyond these two crimes, other related offenses may be perpetrated if you obtain property with that canceled credit card such as Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny. As noted above, mere possession of a stolen credit card is a felony as well.

Crotty Saland PC is a Manhattan based criminal defense firm representing clients in New York City and the surrounding suburbs. Crotty Saland,LLP was founded by former Assistant District Attorneys who served in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

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