Bad Checks Defense Lawyer Chester County PA
Bad Checks in Pennsylvania
Passing a bad check—often known as writing a “hot check”—is considered a fairly serious crime in the state of Pennsylvania. Giving a bad check or money order to another person, or to a business or organization, when you are fully aware the check will not be honored by the bank is detailed under Title 18 Section 4105 of the Pennsylvania code. Further, if you write a bad check in another state, on a bank which is located in Pennsylvania, you will also be charged with writing a bad check. If you obtained goods, services or money by writing a bad check, you could be charged with additional crimes such as Theft of Services, Receiving Stolen Property or Theft by Deception.
Who Writes Bad Checks?
Writing a bad check falls under fraud and forgery—white collar crimes which are usually financial in nature. Sometimes a person writes a bad check and truly had no knowledge there was not sufficient funds in his or her bank account to cover the check. As an example, one spouse could have written a large check without telling the other, so when the unknowing spouse writes a check for goods or services, he or she is truly unaware the check will not be honored by the bank. Other times, a person may simply be in over his or her head financially. There may be no money in the bank until payday, and while the person is aware there is no money in the bank, there may be no food in the house, or a child needs medication. True financial hardship could be considered an extenuating circumstance, allowing your attorney to plead your charges down to lesser charges, or have them dropped altogether.
Finally, some people who write bad checks may simply feel like they won’t get caught, fooling themselves into thinking that writing a bad check is not really a crime. Once that person realizes he or she is facing Pennsylvania criminal charges, however, the serious nature of the situation can come crashing in around them. If you have been charged with writing a bad check, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices as quickly as possible. The sooner our attorneys are on your case, the better your outcome is likely to be. We will advocate for your best interests, no matter the reasons you find yourself in this difficult position. Our attorneys are compassionate to your plight, and knowledgeable regarding Pennsylvania bad check laws. We will work hard on your behalf to keep this mistake from altering your future.
Penalties for Writing a Bad Check in the State of Pennsylvania
The penalties you will face if convicted of writing a bad check in the state of Pennsylvania depends on the amount of the check. If the check you wrote was in an amount less than $200, you will be charged with a summary offense. If you are convicted of the summary offense, you could spend up to 90 days in jail. If the check you wrote was in an amount less than $500 but more than $200, you will face third-degree misdemeanor charges. If you are convicted of this third-degree misdemeanor, you could face up to a year in jail. If the check you wrote was in an amount less than $1,000, but more than $500, you will face second-degree misdemeanor charges.
If you are convicted of this second-degree misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to as much as three years in prison. If the check you wrote was in an amount less than $75,000, but more than $1,000, you will face first-degree misdemeanor charges. If you are convicted of this first-degree misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. If the check you wrote was more than $75,000, you could face third-degree felony charges. If convicted of this third-degree felony, you could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. If you have prior convictions for writing a bad check, the penalties you receive in the event of a conviction are likely to be more severe. You will also be required to pay restitution for the face amount on the check, along with interest which begins on the day the check was refused by the bank, and service charges.
Proving Your Guilt
To make their case against you, the prosecutor must show that you were the person who cashed or issued the check. They will likely do this through video surveillance footage, eyewitness testimony, or perhaps the bank or store made a copy of your ID when you wrote the check. The prosecution must then show that you knew at the time you wrote the check, that you had insufficient funds in your bank account to cover it. If your bank account was closed at the time you wrote the check, this is fairly easy for the prosecutor to prove. If the bank stamps “NSF” for non-sufficient funds on your check, and you failed to make payment after receiving the typical 10-day notice, then, again, the prosecutor will not have a tough time proving you were aware the check was bad.
How an Attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices Can Help
When you need a skilled negotiator, who is also ready to seamlessly step into a courtroom, you need an attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices. We will fully prepare for the possibility of a preliminary hearing or trial, while working hard to negotiate lesser charges, or a dismissal of the charges. In some instances, you might be eligible for a diversionary program, such as a Rule 586 Settlement. This would allow you pay restitution to your alleged victim, and have your charges withdrawn.
Our attorneys might also be able to stop your case at district court, by having your misdemeanor or felony bad check charges reduced to a summary offense. First-time offenders might be eligible for the ARD program, which would allow you to have your charges expunged from your record. If none of these programs are applicable in your case, we will fight hard for a not-guilty verdict on your behalf when we go to court. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, success is our mission—we are driven to serve and ready to fight. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610)-692-8700.