Nevada Laws for "Possession of Credit Cards without Consent"
(NRS 205.690)


Nevada law in NRS 205.690 prohibits people from possessing other people's credit cards without their consent if they intend to use the cards for fraudulent purposes. A person can be convicted of this crime even if he/she never used the card to make a purchase -- merely having the intent to defraud makes credit card possession criminal.

Like most Nevada credit card fraud crimes, unlawful credit card possession is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying:

However, the defense and prosecution may be able to negotiate a Nevada plea bargain where the charges get reduced or dismissed. Typical defenses to the Nevada crime of possessing credit cards without consent are:

  1. The defendant had no intent to defraud,
  2. The cardholder gave consent in Nevada to the defendant's possession, and/or
  3. The police conducted an illegal search or seizure in Nevada

In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys discuss the following illegal credit card possession topics:

man holding card and phone
Possessing another person's credit card with intent to defraud is a category D felony in Nevada.

1. Legal definition of "possessing a credit card without consent" in Nevada

Nevada law prohibits people from possessing other people's credit cards without their consent and for the purpose of committing fraud. Specifically, NRS 205.690 violations have three elements prosecutors have the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. the defendant possesses another person's card;
  2. the cardholder did not give the defendant consent to possess the card; and
  3. the defendant has intent to defraud by using, selling, circulating, or transferring the card1

Nevada courts presume that defendants have an intent to defraud if they have two or more credit cards in their possession that belong to other people. However, courts can drop this presumption if defendants can show they had a lawful reason for possessing the cards.2

2. Penalties for "possessing a credit card without consent" in Nevada

Violating NRS 295.690 is a category D felony, carrying:

digital hand stealing card
People convicted of credit card fraud are ordered to pay restitution.
  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison, and
  • possibly up to $5,000 in fines, and
  • restitution to the victim(s)

However, the D.A. may be willing to reduce the charge to a Nevada misdemeanor or a full dismissal depending on the facts of the case.3

3. Fighting charges for "possessing a credit card without consent"

Three common defense strategies for defending against charges of unlawful credit card possession include:

  1. Lack of intent to defraud
  2. Cardholder consent
  3. Illegal search and seizure

Note that it is not a defense to NRS 295.690 charges that the defendant did not succeed in defrauding anyone with the card.

3.1. There is no intent to defraud

Illegal credit card possession is an intent crime.4 Therefore, possessing another person's card is not an NRS 205.690 violation if the possessor had no intent to defraud.

woman holding card
Intent to defraud is an element of NRS 205.690.

Example: Jane is a shopaholic. Jane's friend Mary secretly takes Jane's credit card and hides it so Jane cannot continue to make purchases. Although Mary could probably be prosecuted for a Nevada theft crime for taking the card, Mary did not commit illegal credit card possession because she had no intent to defraud anyone with the card.

Had Mary in the above example intended to use Jane's card, then Mary could be vulnerable to illegal card possession charges.

3.2. The cardholder gave consent

It is not fraud for someone to possess another person's credit card with that person's permission. A criminal defense attorney may be able to prove consent through such evidence as:

  • the cardholder's own testimony or past communications, such as text messages,
  • any video or audio recordings that may exist of the cardholder giving consent, and/or
  • witnesses who saw or heard the cardholder giving consent

Once the defense attorney can establish that the defendant acted with the consent of the cardholder, charges for unlawful credit card possession cannot stand.

3.3. The police conducted an illegal search and seizure

The Fourth Amendment requires police to get valid warrants prior to conducting searches -- or else to have a lawful reason to not get a warrant. When police may have violated the Fourth Amendment, the defense attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence asking the court to disregard any illegally obtained evidence. If the judge agrees, the prosecution may be left with too weak a case to sustain a guilty verdict.

4. Sealing criminal records for "possessing a credit card without consent" in Nevada

card peaking out of zipper
A conviction for unlawful credit card possession can usually get sealed 5 years after the case ends.

There is a five (5) year waiting period to seal an NRS 205.690 conviction from a defendant's criminal record. Note that this five-year waiting period does not begin until after the case ends, not from the date of conviction.5

There is no waiting period to seal an NRS 205.690 case if the charge gets dismissed (meaning that there is no conviction).6 Learn more about how to seal Nevada criminal records.

5. Immigration consequences for "possessing a credit card without consent"

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considers NRS 205.690 violations to be crimes involving moral turpitude, which are deportable offenses.7 Therefore, any non-U.S. citizen who has been charged with fraud is advised to seek an attorney experienced in both immigration and criminal defense law. A skilled attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges or lessen them to non-deportable offenses. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

6. Related offenses

6.1. Bad checks

The Nevada crime of bad checks occurs when someone deliberately tries to pass a check with insufficient money in his/her account. The penalties for passing a bad check turn on the amount the check was made out for:

A first-time offense of passing a bad check for less than $650 is a misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines, and
  • restitution to the victim(s)
Credit card symbol ss
Passing bad checks of $650 or higher carries the same penalties as credit card fraud.

Meanwhile, passing a bad check of $650 or more is generally punished as a category D felony, carrying:

  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison, and
  • possibly up to $5,000 in fines, and
  • restitution to the victim(s)8

6.2. Possession of stolen property

The Nevada crime of possession of stolen property occurs when someone knowingly possesses property stolen from someone else even if the possessor did not steal it him/herself. Nevada presumes that defendants know the property is stolen if they have three (3) or more of the same kind of property with defaced serial numbers.

The penalties for possessing stolen property in Nevada turn on the value of the property. Possessing less than $650 in stolen property is a misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines, and
  • restitution to the victim(s)

Possessing stolen property valued from $650 to less than $3,500 is a category C felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • One to five (1 - 5) years in prison, and
  • possibly up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • restitution to the victim(s)

Possessing stolen property valued from $3,500 and higher is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • One to ten (1 - 10) years in prison, and
  • possibly up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • restitution to the victim(s)9

6.3. Forgery

The Nevada crime of forgery occurs when someone intentionally attempts to defraud another through falsified documents. Typical forgery offenses are signing someone else's name on a check or contract without their consent or falsifying a legal document.

Forgery is a category D felony, carrying:

  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison, and
  • possibly up to $5,000 in fines, and
  • restitution to the victim(s)10
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Arrested? Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. Our goal is to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. And if necessary, we will take your matter all the way to trial in pursuit of a not guilty verdict.

Arrested in California? See our article on California credit card fraud laws.

Arrested in Colorado? See our article on the Financial Transaction Device Crime Act in Colorado C.R.S. 18-5-702.


Legal References

  1. NRS 205.690 Obtaining or possessing credit card or debit card, or identifying description of credit card, credit account or debit card without consent of cardholder; presumption from possession; exemptions.

          1. A person who steals, takes or removes a credit card or debit card from the person, possession, custody or control of another without the cardholder's consent or who, with knowledge that a credit card or debit card has been so taken, removed or stolen receives the credit card or debit card with the intent to circulate, use or sell it or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder, is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall order the person to pay restitution.

          2. A person who possesses a credit card or debit card without the consent of the cardholder and with the intent to circulate, use, sell or transfer the credit card or debit card with the intent to defraud is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall order the person to pay restitution.

          3. A person who has in his or her possession or under his or her control two or more credit cards or debit cards issued in the name of another person is presumed to have obtained and to possess the credit cards or debit cards with the knowledge that they have been stolen and with the intent to circulate, use, sell or transfer them with the intent to defraud. The presumption established by this subsection does not apply to the possession of two or more credit cards or debit cards used in the regular course of the possessor's business or employment or where the possession is with the consent of the cardholder.

          4. The provisions of this section do not apply to a person employed by or operating a business, including, but not limited to, a bank or other financial institution, credit bureau, collection agency or credit reporting agency, who, without the intent to defraud, lawfully furnishes to another person or obtains the number or other identifying physical or electronic description of a credit card, debit card or credit account in the ordinary course of that business or employment or pursuant to a financial transaction entered into with a customer.

          5. As used in this section:

          (a) “Credit card” includes, without limitation, the number or other identifying physical or electronic description of a credit card or credit account.

          (b) “Debit card” includes, without limitation, the number or other identifying physical or electronic description of a debit card.
  2. Id.; Marshall v. State, 95 Nev. 802, 603 P.2d 283 (1979)("Although NRS 205.690(3) creates a presumption that a person possessing two or more credit cards issued in the name or names of another person or persons is presumed to possess them with the knowledge that they have been stolen and with the intent to defraud, such presumption is not conclusive. Indeed, NRS 47.230(2) commands that a judge shall not direct the jury to find a presumed fact against the accused. This command was violated by the instruction and the violation may not be deemed harmless since the erroneous instruction concerned essential elements of the offense charged. The statutory presumption of NRS 205.690(3) may be the basis for a jury instruction permitting the jury to infer guilty knowledge and intent, without violating NRS 47.230(2). Ricci v. State, 91 Nev. 373, 381, 536 P.2d 79 (1975). Language directing the jury to do so is impermissible.").
  3. NRS 205.690.
  4. Id.
  5. NRS 179.245.
  6. NRS 179.255.
  7. 8 U.S.C. § 1227; Mancilla-Delafuente v. Lynch, 804 F.3d 1262 (9th Cir. 2015)("Nev. Rev. Stat. § 205.690(2) criminalizes "possess[ion of] a credit card or debit card without the consent of the cardholder and with the intent to circulate, use, sell or transfer the credit card or debit card with the intent to defraud." Thus, in order to be convicted under the statute, the state must show a person acted with the intent to defraud. Accordingly, we affirm the BIA's finding that a violation of Nev. Rev. Stat. § 205.690(2) is a categorical CIMT.").
  8. NRS 205.130.
  9. NRS 205.275.
  10. NRS 205.090.

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