Passing bad checks in Davis County can lead to serious criminal charges. Whether the checks are forged from another person’s account or you write a check from your own account with insufficient funds, a criminal conviction can result in jail or prison time, substantial fines, and other serious consequences. If you are facing criminal prosecution relating to cashing a bad check, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be critical to achieving the best results for your case. Contact us today to see what the right criminal lawyer can do for you.
Elements of a Criminal Charge for Passing Bad Checks
A criminal charge for issuing a bad check or draft (bounced check) typically involves a person who has written a check with knowledge that the account has insufficient funds to cover the check. But under some circumstances a person can be prosecuted for writing a bad check even when he or she believed that the check was good.
When a check is refused by the bank (bounces), the Utah criminal code provides that the individual who wrote the check has 14 days after being notified that the check was refused to make good and actual payment on the check. If payment is not made within that 14-day window, a criminal prosecution may be initiated. This provision of the Utah criminal code can catch an otherwise law-abiding citizen unaware and turn a simple problem with balancing a checkbook into a serious criminal charge.
The other type of “bad check” charge in Davis County typically involves a forged check written on another person’s account. Sometimes, forged check charges are brought based on genuine checks that have been written, altered, or signed without authorization of the account holder. In other cases, the checks themselves have been forged and may not even relate to a real checking account.
Penalties for Passing a Bad Check in Davis County
The level of offense a person will face for issuing a bad check or draft on his or her own account is normally based on the amount for which the check was written. For example, a check written for an amount less than $500 should be filed as a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail. But a check written for an amount exceeding $5,000 can result in a second degree felony charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
If a bad check charge involves a forged check, forged signature, or other unauthorized issuance of a check, a charge of forgery can be filed as a felony regardless of the amount for which the check was written. A forged check charge will typically be accompanied by a theft by deception (or “attempted” theft by deception if the defendant is not successful in cashing the check).
While the forgery charge can be filed as a felony regardless of value or amount, the severity of the theft charge is normally based on the amount the check was written for. For example, a person who successfully cashes a forged check for $50 can be charged with a third-degree felony forgery and a class B misdemeanor theft by deception. But a person who cashes a forged check in the amount of $5,000 can face a third-degree felony forgery charge and a second-degree (more severe) felony charge for theft by deception.