What does passing a bad check mean?
It all depends on the parties involved. For an individual, the crime happens when one deliberately writes a check for an amount he knows is not available in his or her bank account. It can also happen where one writes a check against a bank account that has been closed.
Note that like in all other crimes, intention plays a significant role when it comes to writing bad checks. Think about it this way. Person X writes a check to person Y. X knows that he does not have money in his account, but he is sure that he will have deposited enough money before the check reaches his account. Then the worst happens, and he does not deposit the money. His intention was not to defraud, so he may not be penalized as one with intent would.
In the example above, one can only get off the hook if proves that he intended to make a deposit on time. This can be hard to prove. In simple words, this is a risky game. It can end in a jail term if things go awry should you fail to prove you did not have the intention to defraud.
Changing an account number
This is not a bad check crime, but it is often written as an alternative to bad checks. It happens when one changes his account number or any other relevant information with the intention of delaying a check’s processing. The crime here is forgery and embezzlement with severe jail terms and fines. Forgery is for individuals while embezzlement is for companies.
Bad Checks and Canceled Credit Cards
Penalties for both bad checks and canceled credit cards vary from one state to another. The common ground in all states, like in Nevada, is the fact that the penalties can either be criminal or civil in nature. In Nevada, for example, writing a bad check intentionally can land you in prison for three months. It can also attract a fine of up to $750 based on the check’s face value.
Laws change in California. Here, it all depends on whether one is a first time offender or not. If it is a first-time offense with an amount that is less than $200, then the penalty is limited to just one year in a county jail. Intention also matters in California when it comes to bad checks.
Things get tough when one moves to Texas. It has the toughest laws when it comes to bad checks. So serious is the crime in Texas that the state has categorized the crime in various forms. The crime here is considered a felony and it attracts what the state calls ‘State jail’ sentence. The penalty varies between 180 days and two years. It can also attract a fine of up to $10,000. In addition to these punitive measures, victims of bad checks can sue in civil courts. That means one may end up paying for damages as well as costs of the suit.
Keep in mind, that even if you get away with the crime, the costs of bouncing checks are always high. Banks today charge as much as $28 for every bounced check.
Then there is the fact that once you are convicted of any bank-related fraud, no bank will want to do business with you. You will also have your accounts closed. It gets worse for offenders with the fact that there are companies today that report patterns of bad checks and fraud. They share the information and data they collect from your bank. Based on the information these companies give to banks, you can easily end up with closed accounts. You can also have a hard time opening new accounts.
The worst and perhaps the most difficult consequences are ending up with a criminal record indicating that you were once sentenced because of a felony. It will be hard for you to get a job. Renting an apartment will be very tough. It won’t matter if the felony was intentional or accidental. In a nutshell, writing bad checks is never worth it.
You can exercise due diligence and still end up in court for a bad check related crime. That is where bad checks good lawyers come into the picture. Hire one to help you get off the hook. It may cost you, but the last thing you want is to end up in jail
Las Vegas Bad Checks Attorney Dan Lovell of Empire Law Group, providing services for Drunk Driving, Traffic Violations, Casino Crimes, Drug Possession, Domestic Violence and Bad Checks. Contact us for legal advice.