If I received the wrong credit card back from a storeand unknowingly used, whatcan I expect?

UPDATED: Nov 11, 2010

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If I received the wrong credit card back from a storeand unknowingly used, whatcan I expect?

This past Halloween my girlfriend and I were at a bar. My girlfriend opened a tab and then closed it at the end of the night. She used the card a couple times and then it was declined. She went into the bank only to find out that the bar had given her the wrong card. Looked exactly like hers. The bank told her that they would contact the other party and resolve things and she gave them the card. The bar still had her card and she retrieved it. Well today she was contacted by the police department saying she is now a suspect and needs to schedule an interview.

Asked on November 11, 2010 under Criminal Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A crime involves not just a criminal action, but also a criminal mindset or intention (called "mens rea"). For example: you accidently run over someone--you can be sued, but not jailed typically (as long as you weren't drunk, it wasn't hit and run, etc.). You deliberately run over someone--that's a crime, assault or murder. So if someone else's card was used in error, you probably should not face criminal liability, though the issue is what does the evidence suggest? If there is evidence that would make it look like you did use another's card deliberately, then you may be charged with some form of theft or identity theft. You should contact and retain a criminal defense attorney, who can evaluate the situation, advise and defend you, and help you communicate with the authorities. You're best off not saying anything to the authorities until you have and meet with your attorney.

You should also anticipate having to repay any amounts you inadvertantly charged.

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