If you’ve been accused of check fraud, you’ll want to retain legal representation as soon as possible. This will ensure that every detail of your case is properly examined and that the charges being brought against you are fought every step of the way. Regardless of whether or not you may actually be guilty of the crime, hire an Orange County white collar crime attorney. Remember, innocent people are convicted every day of crimes they didn’t actually commit, and a criminal defense attorney is the only one suited to effectively represent your interests in a court of law. And above all, do not say anything unless your attorney advises you to do so. Everything you say CAN be used against you.
What is Check Fraud?
Signing someone else’s name, or even purposely writing a check that you know someone won’t be able to cash, both constitute check fraud, and both instances carry with them severe penalties. Attempting to alter a signed check or creating a fake check from scratch are two other forms of fraud that the court system commonly sees. California Penal Code 476 PC views check fraud as a “wobbler” crime. This means the court can charge you with felony or misdemeanor check fraud.
If you’re convicted of the misdemeanor, you face:
- Up to one year in county jail
- Maximum $1,000 fine
If you’re convicted of the felony, you face:
- 16 months to 3 years of county jail
- Maximum $10,000 fine
While a conviction of check fraud can result in either a felony or a misdemeanor charge, a large number of cases result in felony charges due to the fact that the fraudulent sum is large in nature, or the fraudulent act itself represented repeat behavior. Regardless of the severity of the charge though, the stigma associated with a check fraud conviction will follow the recipient for years after the fact.
Just Because You’re Being Charged Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty
Remember, in order to be convicted, it has to be determined without a reasonable doubt that what you were doing was fraudulent. You need to have been completely aware that what you were doing constituted the intent to commit check fraud. As far as the recipient is concerned, he or she needs to have attempted to cash the check either on or after the date written on the check, otherwise it can be labeled a bad debt situation. If the check was written as payment for a previous debt (constituting previous dealings with the allegedly defrauded party), you may not be prosecuted criminally. Furthermore, if you attempted to stop payment on the check prior to it being cashed, that’s actually evidence that you attempted to rectify the situation, not necessarily defraud the other party.
There are a number of variables that ALL need to be taken into consideration in order for an individual to be prosecuted for check fraud. At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our legal team will help you shoulder the burden of being accused. We will ensure that you are provided with the strongest defense possible given the circumstances of your case, and we will help you get your life back on track. For more information about how we can help with your check fraud case, don’t hesitate to call us day or night, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, at (714) 530-9690.