Arrested for Writing Bad Checks in Los Angeles?
Overview of California's "Bad Check" Law
A check is considered "bad" if it has been written by a person
who knows that there are insufficient funds to cover the entire amount
of the check, or if it is canceled by the writer before it can be withdrawn
by the receiver. Writing bad checks is a serious criminal offense, and
it is recommended that you contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer
if you have been accused, arrested, or charged with the crime.
California Penal Code Section 476a states that writing a bad check can
be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the
circumstances surrounding the crime. If prosecutors are to successfully
convict you, they must be able to prove that there was a lack of sufficient
funds at the time you wrote the check and that you were aware of the deficiency
and subsequently acted with the intent to defraud.
For example, you would commit a "bad check" crime if:
- You write a check from a bank account that is closed
- You attempt to cash a check on an overdrawn account
- You write a check and cancel it before it is cashed
What are the Penalties for Passing a Bad Check?
Passing a bad check could result in either misdemeanor or felony charges,
so the penalties for a conviction will vary. This crime is a wobbler,
which means that the prosecutor will look at the value of the bad check,
your criminal history and the circumstances of the offense. For example,
if you were caught passing a bad check that was less than $950 and you
have no prior convictions on your record, you will most likely be charged with a
misdemeanor violation of California Penal Code 476a.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you could face up to one year in
county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. On the other hand, felony charges
carry up to three years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Civil penalties may also be accessed under California Civil Code Section
1719. This would require you to pay the full amount of the check to the
victim, as well as a statutory service charge or penalty charge. In fact,
the payee may sue for additional damages that could total up to $1,500.
Legal Defenses to Bad Check Crimes
If you were arrested for writing or attempting to pass a bad check in Los
Angeles, you should act quickly to get in touch with a Los Angeles criminal
attorney at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners. There are a number of
different legal defenses that could be used to challenge your bad check
charges, which is why you should speak to an experienced defense lawyer
before you talk to the police or plead guilty to your charges.
Some of the defenses that may be available in your case include:
- You had post-dated the "bad check" before issuing it to the payee
- You told the payee that there were insufficient funds in the account
- You, in good faith, believed that you had enough money to cover the check
- The bank made a mistake that prevented funds from being withdrawn
Legal Help for Bad Check Cases in Los Angeles
With more than 70 years of combined legal experience, Stephen G. Rodriguez
& Partners is fully prepared to defend you against charges of writing
bad checks. Criminal charges are a serious matter that must be addressed
immediately. We will provide you with swift and aggressive support that
is intended to bring about the desired result in your case. Through our
efforts, we may be able to have your charges reduced, or eliminated completely.
Don't wait to take the first step; contact our office immediately.
Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners now for a free case evaluation!