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Bad Checks

If you are charged with writing bad checks, do not take the matter lightly. A bad checks conviction can carry many serious consequences, including significant fines and penalties, jail time, the loss of your job, and a permanent criminal record.At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our New Jersey bad check attorneys have over 400 years of combined experience, and have helped many people resolve bad checks charges. Call us – problem solved.

Is Writing a Bad Check a Crime in New Jersey?

New Jersey defines makes it a crime to pass checks, or make electronic funds transfers, with the knowledge that they will not be honored. Defendants are presumed to have known that their checks were bad if they are drawn on a nonexistent account, or drawn on an account without sufficient funds. Anyone who writes a bad check, even if they believed it would be honored, has 10 days to make good on payment or they are guilty of this crime.

Writing bad checks can be a crime of either the second, third, or fourth degree, or a disorderly persons offense, depending on the amount of the check. Most times, bad checks are prosecuted as a disorderly persons offense in municipal court. This means that most defendants charged with writing bad checks do not get a jury trial. 

What is a Bad Check Under New Jersey Law?

Under New Jersey law, you can be charged with writing a “bad check” if you know that the check can’t be cashed. While proving a defendant’s actual knowledge in court can be difficult (though not impossible), the law presumes that you knew you were writing a bad check if:

  • You didn’t have an account with the bank named on the check when you wrote it; or
  • Your bank refused to honor the check due to lack of funds or your account being closed (provided that (i) the check is presented within 46 days and (ii) you fail to make good on the check within 10 days of receiving notice of refusal).

What are the Penalties for Writing a Bad Check in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the penalties and fines for writing a bad check depend on the amount of money involved. While writing a bad check for less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense, writing a bad check for $200 or more is an indictable crime:

  • Bad Check for Less Than $200 – Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
  • Bad Check for $200 to $999 – Up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine
  • Bad Check for $1,000 to $74,999 – Three to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine
  • Bad Check for $75,000 or More – Five to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine

Is It Possible to Beat a Bad Check Charge in New Jersey?

Depending on the circumstances involved in your case, it may be possible to beat your bad check charge. Some examples of defenses a New Jersey bad checks lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. may be able to argue on your behalf include:

  • The check wasn’t cashed in a timely manner
  • The check didn’t have the correct signatures or was refused for other reasons
  • You requested a hold on the check for a valid reason
  • You did not receive timely notice that the check bounced
  • You validly post-dated the check, and the recipient attempted to cash it too soon
  • You were not aware that the bank had closed your checking account

Other defenses that are non-specific to writing a bad check may also apply. For example, if the police or prosecutors violated your constitutional rights, our New Jersey bad checks attorneys may be able to use this to defend you in court.

Is Forging a Check the Same Thing as Writing a Bad Check?

Forgery is a separate offense from writing a bad check in New Jersey. If you forged a signature on someone else’s check, you are minimally facing a fourth-degree criminal charge which carries up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Writing a Bad Check in New Jersey?

When facing a disorderly persons offense (cases involving checks for less than $200), writing a bad check has a one-year statute of limitations. When facing an indictable crime, the statute of limitations for writing a bad check increases to five years.

If your facing a possible conviction, be sure to contact a New Jersey bad check attorney at Helmer Legal today. 

 

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