Our Former Prosecutors & Skilled Defense Lawyers Have Over 150 Years Of Experience To Ensure That You Avoid A Conviction For Passing or Issuing a Bad Check
It is illegal in New Jersey to write a check without the money in your account to cover it, pure and simple. Problems with your direct deposit, confusion as to when you received a payment from someone else, or any other explanation for having insufficient funds to cover a check are all plausible explanations but not when you fail to make payment after being provided notice that it has bounced. To make matters worse, you will face a felony and the possibility of state prison if the bad check was for more than $200.
If you’re facing bad check charges, call a lawyer whose experience with white collar criminal defense can give you an advantage against the prosecution. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall so you can take advantage of our exceptional experience and long track record of success in defending bad check offenses throughout New Jersey, including Camden County, Bergen County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, Burlington County, Somerset County and Hudson County.
If you were arrested or charged with check fraud or any related offense, you have the same rights as any other defendant — the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to confront the witnesses against you, and the right to trial by jury on any felony charges. Our lawyers can help put your rights into action.
Don’t make a bad situation worse — get dependable legal advice
The first thing to keep in mind if you’re facing bad check allegations is the importance of maintaining silence. Anything you say can indeed be used against you and anything you say afterward to improve the situation will only invite this response: “were you lying then or are you lying now?”
Tell your story instead to our defense attorneys. We’ll find ways to present your case and your situation in the most favorable possible light at every opportunity — at the beginning of the case, in pretrial motions, at trial, and if necessary at sentencing. We have had good success keeping check fraud cases in municipal court, where the maximum sentence is six months and your options for restitution or conditional discharge are much greater than they would be in superior court.
We can keep creditors from using the criminal courts as collection agents
Some bad check cases reflect nothing more than the attempt of a frustrated creditor to use the criminal justice system as leverage against you on a debt, especially in cases where a collection agency secures future payments through authorization to access your account for several months. We know how to work with prosecutors to keep these cases out of court.
The following are common questions posed to our criminal defense attorneys by clients charged with issuing or passing a bad check.
How Does Someone Commit Bad Check Offense in New Jersey?
The New Jersey bad check statute is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5. An individual commits this offense if he or she “issues or passes a check…knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee”. Knowledge that a check will not be honored is presumed under 2C:21-5 if the drawee did not have an account (e.g. closed) when the check was written or where the check is dishonored for insufficient funds and the writer fails to cover the check within 10 days of notice that it bounced (e.g. service of a bad check demand letter).
Are There Defense That Can Allow You To Beat A Bad or Bounced Check Offense?
Yes. The biggest defense to a bad check offense is that the issuer lacked knowledge that the check would bounce or otherwise be dishonored by the bank. There are many excuses in this regard, for example, you miscalculated the balance in your account, anticipated a deposit that never occurred or some other circumstance existed to explain why the incident occurred.
Can You Be Prosecuted For Writing A Post Dated Check?
While it is always possible for a criminal complaint to be filed where the check was post dated, there is no inference that the issuer knew that the check would not be honored when he/she wrote. The simple reason for this statement stems from the fact that the issuer is essentially telling the recipient that the funds to cover the check do not exit on the date of issuance, hence, it needs to be post dated.
When Does Issuing A Bad Check Result In A Felony?
Issuing a bad check in the amount of less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense, the term used in the New Jersey Criminal Code to describe a misdemeanor. Whenever a bad check is written for $200 or more, it results in an indictable felony offense that can only be dealt with at the Superior Court. It is a fourth degree crime to write a bad check that is at least $200 but less than $1,000. A bounced check results in a third degree crime where it is written in an amount of at least $1,000 but less than $75,000. The highest grade of felony charge is a second degree crime and is triggered where the check is $75,000 or more.
What Are The Penalties If You Are Convicted Of Writing A Bad Check?
The penalties for issuing, writing or bouncing a check in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5 hinge on the grade of offense charged. A second degree crime for writing a bad check results in 5-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The maximum period of imprisonment is 5 years for a third degree crime and the potential fine is $15,000. When someone is convicted or otherwise found guilty of a fourth degree crime for bouncing a check, he/she faces up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. The lowest grade of charge under 2C:21-5 is a disorderly persons offense. This pedigree of bad check exposes someone to up to 6 months in the county jail and fine of up to $1,000.
Bad Check Statute of Limitation. The time limit for filing a bad check offense depends on the grade of charge. A disorderly persons offense for writing a bad check must be filed within six months of issuance or it is time barred under the statute of limitation. If the bad check charge involves a second degree, third degree or fourth degree crime, the limitation period is five years.
Contact Our Offices For Immediate Assistance From A Knowledge Attorney
An attorney at our firm is ready to provide a free consultation. We represent individuals facing bad check charges throughout New Jersey, including Camden County, Atlantic County, Burlington County, Hudson County, Morris County, Somerset County and Bergen County. You can contact us anytime 24/7 and one our attorneys will provide you with the answers that you are looking for. Make the call before your situation worse.
Related Bad Check Resource Pages For You To Consider
Bad Check Offense in Camden County
Burlington County Bad Check Defense Attorneys
Atlantic County Bad Check Charges