Orange County Bad Check Attorney
Bad Checks and Insufficient Funds - Penal Code 476a
If you've been arrested for writing "bad checks," this could result in years in a state prison. It is one thing if you legitimately thought you had more money in your checking account—that is a common, daily mistake—but when you knowingly write checks when you know have insufficient funds or write checks from a fake checking account, you could be charged with this crime, along with additional fraud or theft charges.
Why You Need an OC Defense Attorney
Writing bad checks can lead to several theft charges, but with the help of a skilled defense attorney, you can work to reduce or even dismiss charges. That line between making an honest mistake and purposely writing a bad check sometimes gets blurred by overzealous prosecutors; our defense attorneys have seen an honest mistake turned into a court criminal matter, which is why you need to contact us.
Retaining a professional attorney can help clear this sort of matter up rather quickly. With over a decade of experience, Law Office of Michael L. Guisti has successfully kept their clients out of jail and reduced their bad check charges. Please understand, even if convicted of writing a bad check for a small amount, potential employers will see a theft charge on your record when they run a background check, which could prevent you from obtaining employment. This is why you need to call an attorney at (714) 530-9690 now.
Call us today to discuss your case in a free case evaluation!
The Crime of Writing Bad Checks
Under Penal Code 476a, the crime of writing a bad check is when you willfully write, deliver, use, or attempt to use a check knowing that there are insufficient funds with the intent to defraud the recipient. It is important to understand that you can still be charged with this crime if you knowingly write a bad check, but the recipient doesn't accept it as you had the INTENT to defraud the recipient.
Similarly, if you wrote a check for a very small amount that doesn't clear with the bank, the recipient can still press criminal charges. In most cases, if the check "bounces," the recipient will try to work it out with the person who wrote the check; however, the recipient always has the right to press charges against you.
Depending on the circumstances, the District Attorney may prosecute you for petty or grand theft, in addition to writing bad checks. If it can be shown that you intended to defraud the recipient out of goods by knowingly writing a bad check, you could face petty theft or grand theft charges. For example, if you knowingly wrote a bad check at a store for $1,000, you could face grand theft charges. Or, for example, if you knowingly wrote a bad check at a supermarket for $150, you could face petty theft charges.
"After buying food with a check two weeks later I get this scary letter from the District Attorney’s office saying they’re going to prosecute me for fraud and telling me I’m going to go to jail. Michael L. Guisti took care of everything for me, because he is a saint. No jail or fines for me. Thanks Mr. Guisti."
What Are Your Potential Defense Strategies?
The most common defense is that you actually thought there was money in your account or that the bank would cover it. Basically, if you thought there was money in the account, thought overdraft protection would kick in, or were expecting direct deposit from your job, then you shouldn't be charged with this crime, because you never had any intent to defraud the recipient. Similarly, you cannot be found guilty if there was a bank error that prevented the funds from being released.
In these cases, the prosecutor will encourage the two parties to work it out, but sometimes the recipient insists on pressing charges, which is why you should retain an attorney. As well, your defense attorney can work out a deal to repay the recipient and avoid any criminal charges. Another common, winning defense is you told the recipient—or wrote on the check memo line—not to cash the check until a later date when there would be funds in your account. Sometimes recipients of checks forget to delay depositing the check or just ignore your request, but since you didn't intent to defraud, there is no crime.
Writing bad checks is a "wobbler," which means it can be filed either as a misdemeanor or felony. This will depend on your criminal history and the amount you wrote the check for. If convicted of misdemeanor, you face up to 1 year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. If convicted of felony, you face 16 months to 2 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Bad Check Diversion Program
There is a little bit of good news. If you are accused of this crime, the District Attorney offers a bad check diversion program, which allows you to repay the recipient and attend an intervention program and money management class. Once you successfully complete this program, all charges are dropped.
Call Attorney Michael Guisti at (714) 530-9690
As you can see, writing a bad check can result in several different criminal charges, but the Orange County white collar criminal attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti know several options that can relieve you of this crime and help you get back on with your life, which is why you need to call us now.
With over a decade of experience in the courts of Southern California, we know what it takes to win your case. So please, call the professional defense lawyers at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 now.
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Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.