A bad check crime refers to the act of issuing a check knowing that there are insufficient funds in the account to cover the amount of the check. This is also known as check fraud or bouncing a check. It is considered a criminal offense and can result in fines and/or imprisonment.
A bad checks lawyer can help in several ways if you have been accused of issuing a bad check.
- Advise you on the specific laws in your state regarding bad check crimes and the potential penalties you may be facing.
- Investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the check in question and identify any potential defenses that may be available to you.
- Negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf in order to reach a plea bargain or reduced charges.
- Represent you in court and present a strong defense if your case goes to trial.
- Help you to understand the legal process and guide you through it.
It’s important to note that having a lawyer will give you better chances in court.
What Are Some Common Forms of Bad Check Crimes?
Some common forms of bounced check crimes include:
- Writing a check with insufficient funds: This occurs when a person writes a check knowing that there are not enough funds in their account to cover the amount of the check.
- Check kiting: This is a form of check fraud where a person takes advantage of the time it takes for a check to clear by writing a check on one account and using the funds from a check written on another account before the first check is returned for insufficient funds.
- Forging a check: This occurs when a person alters a check or creates a fake check with the intent to defraud.
- Stolen check fraud: This occurs when a person steals a check and alters it or uses it to withdraw money from someone else’s account.
- Post-dated check fraud: This occurs when a person writes a check with a future date in order to avoid having the check returned for insufficient funds.
- Counterfeit check fraud: This occurs when a person creates a fake check with the intent to defraud.
These are some examples, but it’s not an exhaustive list, and depending on the state, the laws and penalties can vary.
How Do I Know if a Check is Bad?
There are a few ways to determine if a check is bad or not:
- Check the account balance: You can check the account balance of the person who wrote the check by contacting their bank or by using an online banking service. If the account balance is insufficient to cover the amount of the check, it is considered a bad check.
- Check with the bank: You can contact the bank where the check was written and ask if the check has cleared or if there are any issues with the account. If the check has not cleared or if there are insufficient funds in the account, the check is considered bad.
- Check the date: If a check is post-dated, it is not considered a bad check. Post-dated checks can only be deposited after the date written on the check.
- Check for forgery or alteration: If the check appears to be altered in any way, it is considered bad.
- Check for proper endorsement: If the check is not properly endorsed, it is considered bad.
It’s important to note that it’s not always easy to know if a check is bad, and sometimes it takes a while for the bank to clear a check or to find out that the account has insufficient funds.
What Are Some Penalties for Bad Check Crimes?
Penalties for writing bad check crimes and for check fraud charges can vary depending on the specific laws in your state and the circumstances of the crime.
Some common penalties include:
- Fines: A person convicted of a bad check crime may be required to pay fines as a penalty. The amount of the fine can vary depending on the amount of the check and the jurisdiction.
- Restitution: A person convicted of a bad check crime may be required to pay restitution to the victim. This is money paid to compensate the victim for any financial losses suffered as a result of the bad check.
- Community service: A person convicted of a bad check crime may be required to perform community service as a penalty.
- Probation: A person convicted of a bad check crime may be placed on probation as a penalty. Probation is a period of supervision during which a person must adhere to certain conditions set by the court.
- Imprisonment: Depending on the severity of the crime and the jurisdiction, a person convicted of a bad check crime may face imprisonment.
- Criminal record: A conviction for a bad check crime will result in a criminal record which can affect future employment and other opportunities.
It’s important to note that depending on the state, the laws and penalties can vary; some states consider it a felony and others as a misdemeanor.
What Happens if I Cash a Bad Check?
If you cash a bad check, it can result in several consequences:
- The check will be returned for insufficient funds: If the check is returned for insufficient funds, the bank will notify you and the person who wrote the check. The check will be marked as “NSF” (non-sufficient funds), and the account holder will be charged a fee.
- You may be held liable for the check: If you knew or had reason to know that the check was bad, you may be held liable for the check. This means that you may be responsible for paying the amount of the check plus any fees or penalties.
- You may face legal action: If the person who wrote the check presses charges, you may face legal action for cashing a bad check. Depending on the jurisdiction and the law, you may be facing a criminal charge and fines or even imprisonment
- Your bank account may be frozen: If the bank finds out that you cashed a bad check, they may freeze your account to cover the amount of the check.
- Damage to your credit report: If the bank or the check writer files a complaint or presses charges, it will reflect on your credit report, which will damage your credit score and make it harder for you to get loans or open new accounts in the future.
It’s important to note that even if you didn’t know that the check was bad, you could still be held liable for the check and face consequences. It’s important to be cautious when accepting checks and to verify the funds and the account holder before cashing a check.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Bad Check Charges?
If you have been charged with a bad check crime or check fraud, it is strongly recommended that you seek the assistance of a fraud lawyer. An attorney with experience in handling bad check and check fraud cases can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need to protect your rights and interests.
A lawyer can review your case and advise you of the specific laws and penalties in your state and the potential consequences of a conviction. They can also investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the check in question and identify any potential defenses that may be available to you.
Additionally, a lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf in order to reach reduced charges or a plea bargain. If your case goes to trial, they can present a strong defense on your behalf. Furthermore, they can help you understand the legal process and guide you through it.
If you are facing bad check charges, it is important to act quickly and seek the help of a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you to understand the charges against you and the possible outcomes, as well as help you to build the best possible defense to protect your rights and future.