Defending Individuals Accused of Writing Bad Checks in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties
Although it may have been entirely unintentional, New Jersey prosecutors do not accept your lack of knowledge as a defense when you are accused of check fraud, also known as writing bad checks. Essentially, a check is a commitment, utilizing money that you are required to have at the time that you provide it as payment. As such, any situation wherein you write a check without the funds to support that commitment can give rise to check fraud charges (unless of course, the check is post-dated).
Perhaps there was an issue with a direct deposit into your account or a check from someone else did not clear, leaving you with a balance that you did not anticipate was too low. In other cases, a disgruntled creditor levies a check fraud allegation that has absolutely no validity. Regardless of the circumstances, a conviction for writing bad checks means you may be facing a significant term of incarceration in addition to hefty fines, restitution payments, and even immigration consequences if you are not a permanent U.S. citizen. Protecting yourself and your interests goes far beyond simply telling the truth. You need an aggressive and compelling defense strategy in order to vindicate yourself.
At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we listen to your version of the events, investigate the circumstances of the incident or incidents, and construct a thoughtful, comprehensive case to defend your innocence. Our team of talented criminal trial attorneys includes former County and Municipal prosecutors in over 25 municipalities across New Jersey, each of whom provides unique insight into the way that the State constructs its case against defendants accused of check fraud. Over 100 years of experience informs our strategic approach, which has yielded countless favorable outcomes for our clients, whether we negotiate for a lesser sentence, secure enrollment in diversionary programs, or achieve outright dismissals in court. If you have been accused of a theft or fraud crime in Somerset and Hunterdon counties or elsewhere in New Jersey, find the answers you need by contacting our Bridgewater offices for a free consultation. One of our seasoned lawyers is always available to assist you at 908-722-1011.
Check Fraud Charges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A 2C:21-5
Section N.J.S.A 2C:21-5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code outlines offenses that fall within the realm of check fraud. According to this statute,
A person who issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, commits an offense as provided for in subsection c. of this section. For the purposes of this section as well as in any prosecution for theft committed by means of a bad check, an issuer is presumed to know that the check or money order (other than a post-dated check or order) would not be paid, if:
a. The issuer had no account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued; or
b. Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, or due to a closed account, after a deposit by the payee into a bank for collection or after presentation to the drawee within 46 days after issue, and the issuer failed to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal or after notice has been sent to the issuer’s last known address. Notice of refusal may be given to the issuer orally or in writing in any reasonable manner by any person.
Penalties for Writing Bad Checks in New Jersey
The degree of a check fraud charge is contingent upon the amount for which you wrote the check that “bounced.” Specifically, bad check offenses are determined according to the following provisions
- Second Degree Check Fraud Charges:
- Bad checks or money orders of $75,000 or more
- Punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term ranging from 5 to 10 years
- Third Degree Check Fraud Charges:
- Bad checks or money orders of between $500 and $75,000
- Punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term ranging from 3 to 5 years
- Fourth Degree Check Fraud Charges:
- Bad checks or money orders of between $200 and $500
- Punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term of 18 months
- Disorderly Persons Check Fraud Charges:
- Bad checks or money orders of less than $200
- Punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months in the county jail
Contact our Somerset County NJ Check Fraud and Bad Checks Lawyers Today
It is all-too-common for check fraud charges to originate from a simple oversight, miscommunication, or misunderstanding. However, without a solid case to establish your innocence, you may be robbed of the benefit of a reduced plea offer, a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention, a downgraded charge, or even a dismissal. To avoid the repercussions of a these charges, contact the award-winning attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today. Our lawyers will pursue all available avenues to achieve a desirable outcome.