When it comes to check fraud there are a number of defensive strategies available to you and your legal team. Remember, it is the court system’s responsibility to prove that you are guilty of check fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, while it is your attorney’s job to help the court system recognize the reasonable doubt present in your case. Plain and simple, doubt can prevent a conviction. So when it comes to your own defense and establishing doubt, consider the following:
#1. Your Character is Carefully Examined
Obviously, if you have a clean record, this is going to play in your favor. But, even if you do have some past blemishes on your record that you aren’t too proud of, it doesn’t mean that all is lost. While the prosecution may attempt to use details of your past record against you, the circumstances surrounding those details and how they pertain to your character (and this particular case) can actually be used in your defense (which is why it is all the more important to retain the services of a defense attorney who has experience representing individuals facing check fraud charges).
#2. What Exactly Was Written On the Check?
Did you know that the date you wrote on the check can actually play a significant factor in your case? If the check was postdated, and the recipient of the check attempted to cash it prior to the written date, that doesn’t necessarily constitute check fraud. It could very well be argued that the check should not have been cashed prior to the written date, and that there was no intent to defraud the recipient (instead, this creates a “bad debt situation” that cannot result in criminal prosecution). Furthermore, if you and the recipient had prior dealings together, that too could play a role in showing that there was no intent to defraud (e.g. if you borrowed money from the other party and previously made payments to repay that debt, a “bad check” may not necessarily be labeled as check fraud).
#3. What Was Your Understanding of the Situation?
- If you wrote a check not realizing that the recipient wouldn’t be able to cash it, that fact can help your defense.
- If the fraudulent check activity cannot definitively be linked back to you, that fact can help your defense
The Punishment in California For Check Fraud
Check fraud is considered forgery. Under California Penal Code Section 470, the crime of forgery is a “wobbler.” This means you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail. A felony conviction will have you facing up to 3 years in county jail.
Essentially, there are a lot of very important details that need to perfectly line up in order for you to be successfully convicted of check fraud. An experienced defense attorney will be able to point out how these details don’t all necessarily line up. For more information contact the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690. We are available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week for all your legal needs.