Bad checks can lead to serious criminal repercussions. If you have written many bad checks intentionally and the checks bounced, you will probably need a criminal defense attorney. Perhaps something went wrong in your bank’s processes or your employer is at fault. Or maybe you went amiss in your own personal accounting. Whatever your reason is, you need a credible defense which you can build together with a good lawyer. We have experience with a bad check defense at Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law. Start your search for lawyers with us. We offer a free initial consultation and can be easily be accessed.
Possible Punishments from Bad Check CasesPeople with bad checks are advised not to talk to the bank involved or any commercial institution. It’s best to keep quiet about it. Do not even talk to the police. Any information divulged to any of these entities can be used in court and can lead to a criminal proceeding involving fraud or passing bad checks. Punishments vary from state to state. Depending on your particular situation and the circumstances surrounding your case, you can be charged with either civil penalties, or criminal penalties, or both. In Arizona, a convictions for a writing bad check can result will punishment of up to 6 months in jail and probation. Each case is handled a little bit different based on the evidence, the intent and criminal background of the person convicted. You will need to pay back the full amount of the fraudulent check and you may be subjected to a fine of up to $2500, plus an 84% surcharge. In Florida, where these cases are considered criminal offenses, a convicted person may end up spending up to 1 year in jail, where the issued check was for less than $150. Beyond this amount, the court of the state will label the case as a third degree offense and, if proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, a person can be punished with a maximum of 5 years imprisonment. If you live in New York, getting convicted for passing a bad check can land you in jail for up to three months in jail. Another penalty is a fine of up to $750. Additional penalties may be imposed depending on the check’s amount. In California, first-time offenders can be given up to 1 year in prison time. This penalty is applicable for checks with amounts lower than $200. You wouldn’t wish to be a resident of Texas and committed the crime there, as the state has some of the toughest laws against fraud and bad check writing. Penalties can go up to 2 years in jail. Fines in Texas can reach up to $10,000.
Possible DefensesIn bad check cases, the prosecution’s duty is to prove that the person charged knew that there was not enough money to cover his or her purchase, but decided to proceed with the purchase anyway. Any of the following situations will convince prosecutors that a case merits a court trial.
- Postdated checks
- Writing a check on an already closed or non-existent bank account
- The bank involved is required to send a letter informing the account holder that he has insufficient funds. Failure to replenish the account to meet the required amount within 10 days is considered to be intent to ignore the notice and a willful violation of the law.
There Are Different Defenses.One defense is the situation where the recipient of the check cashed the check early, but was aware that the payer did not have sufficient funds in the account at the time the check was received. The recipient was supposed to process the check at a future date when the funds were available, but failed to do so. Another defense is quite similar. The payer postdates the check, but the recipient cashes the check early. If the recipient would have waited, there would have been enough funds to cover the check. A third defense is that the payer was unaware that the bank removed funds from the account without one's knowledge or the bank changed bank service charges against the account without one's knowledge, resulting in insufficient funds.
How Conviction Can Affect YouAside from the fines, jail time, limits on rights and a temporary time where you cannot work, people convicted for passing bad checks have to face other serious consequences, such as:
- Your credit score may be affected
- Some banks will close the bank account and you may find it difficult to open another account elsewhere
- Job limitations – Some companies are not open to accepting applicants with criminal records
Free Initial ConsultationRobert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, offers free initial consultations for criminal defense cases. You can tell him your story without paying anything out of your pocket.
10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103
Scottsdale, AZ 85260