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NY Penal Law § 165.17: Unlawful use of credit card, debit card or public benefit card

It is against the law to obtain goods or services by using a credit, debit or public benefit card that has been canceled. If you do so, you would have commit theft. With today's technology a vendor will usually be notified immediately if a card is no longer valid. However, there are still instances in which a vendor may not be notified immediately and as a result, the sale does go through. In general this will only occur in the rare case of a manual transaction, or whether there is some sort of software glitch. Regardless of the reason you were able to secure the good or services with a cancelled or revoked card, if you do so you will have committed a crime. Under New York Penal Law § 165.17, it is against the law to use a credit, debit or public benefit card that you know has been revoked or cancelled to obtain property or a service.


Sally loves to shop. Unfortunately she spends way too much money and as a result has not been able to pay her credit card bills. Recently she was notified that one of her credit cards was cancelled because she has not been able to pay the bill. Sally visited a street fair and spotted a beautiful handmade scarf. She had to have it. She figured that she would see if by some miracle the credit card would go through. Sally smiled when she saw that the vendor simply wrote down the credit card number and expiration date, instead of swiping it. Sally signed the receipt and walked away with the beautiful new scarf. Sally could be prosecuted for unlawful use of credit card since she is well aware that her card had been cancelled.

Related Offenses
  1. Petit larceny: New York Penal Law § 155.25
  2. Grand larceny in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 155.30
  3. Criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree: New York Penal Law § 165.40

Under the statute, you must know that the card was cancelled or revoked. If, for example, you use the card to purchase goods but when you arrive home you receive a letter that the card was cancelled, then you could not be convicted under the statute. Also, if you are able to use a revoked or cancelled card to secure goods or services but you then pay for them, you may have a defense to the charge.


Because unlawful use of credit card, debit card or public benefit card is a Class A misdemeanor if you are convicted you could be sent to county jail for up to one year, and you may be required to pay a fine. It is also possible for the judge to sentence you to a probation term of 3 years.

New York Penal Law § 165.17: Unlawful use of credit card, debit card or public benefit card

A person is guilty of unlawful use of 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 cancelled.

New York Unlawful Use of Credit Card, Debit Card or Public Benefit Card Lawyer

Even though unlawful use of a credit card, debit card or public benefit card is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important to have experienced representation. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes such as harassment, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, assault, and reckless endangerment. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations:

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