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Passing Bad Checks

Philadelphia Lawyer for Writing Bad Checks

Sometimes people write checks without having the funds in the account to cover the check. When this happens, the check will not typically be honored. Instead, it will be sent back to the bank, and the person will owe a fee for bouncing a check. It is an occasional occurrence, and the person usually feels badly for the mistake, and is upset they have to pay the fee, and that they may need to explain to the other party why the check they issued did not clear.

That's fine. More or less, this is a no harm, no foul scenario. However, when a person knowingly writes a check that will not pass, they have committed a crime. Repetition of this offense can become especially problematic. Fines, jail time, and a criminal record are all potential consequences of passing bad checks. If you are accused of passing a bad check, you will need a knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyer on your side.

Bounced Check vs. Bad Check

This difference between these two is very simple: a bounced check was written by mistake, while a bad check was written intentionally/knowingly.

That's it. If the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly wrote a check that would not clear, then you will be guilty of this crime. However, this is a great hurdle that the prosecution must climb. They must prove knowledge. This makes it essential that, if charged, you retain an aggressive attorney who forces the prosecution make their case, and focuses on discrediting any argument they make or evidence they provide to suggest the check was written with the requisite knowledge.

It must be demonstrated that you knew that the check or order to pay money would not be honored by the bank or financial institution connected to the account covering the check. Types of bad checks include:

  • Post-dated checks
  • Checks issued from closed accounts
  • Checks issued from fictitious accounts
  • Checks where you fail to provide funds within 10 days of being given notice by the bank or institution that insufficient funds exist to cover a previously written check

Bad Check Offenses

With conviction of any of the following offenses, you will have to pay the bank service charges and reimburse the party you wrote the bad check to - plus interest.

  • Summary Offense: Under $200
  • Misdemeanor of the Third Degree: $200 or more but under $500
  • Misdemeanor of the Second Degree: $500 or more but under $1,000
  • Misdemeanor of the First Degree: $1,000 or more but under $75,000
  • Felony of the Third Degree: $75,000 or more
  • 3 or More Offenses in a Five Year Period: Can be charged as a Felony of the Third Degree

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

An experienced and aggressive lawyer will immediately call into question the element of knowledge necessary for a check to be considered bad. Remember, this must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That means there has to be no question at all as to whether you intended to write a bad check. Your lawyer's chief objective will be to question this; to provide that doubt, and then to use it to either have your case dismissed or to plea it down to a less serious offense.

This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.

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