Passing Bad Checks


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Intentionally writing a bad check is different from bouncing a check because you made a mistake about how much money was in your account.

The key to understanding this charge is centered on whether or not you wrote the check knowingly. If you knew there wasn’t enough money in the account to cover your check, but you wrote it anyway because you needed to make a purchase or pay a bill, you can be guilty of a criminal offense.

If you are charged with writing bad checks you can face frightening repercussions that include prison, fines and a criminal record. If you are arrested, you will need a strong and aggressive defense.

What You Need To Know About Bad Checks

In Pennsylvania, someone has written a bad check if they issue or pass a check or order to pay money knowing that it will not be honored by the bank or financial institution where the account is held.

This includes:

  • Post-dated checks.
  • Writing a check on an account that is closed or non-existent.
  • Not making good on the check within 10 days of receiving notice from the bank that you had insufficient funds to cover it.

Levels of Bad Checks Offenses

  • Summary offense if the check or order is less than $200
  • A misdemeanor of the third degree if the check or order is $200 or more but less than $500
  • A misdemeanor of the second degree if the check or order is $500 or more but less than $1,000
  • A misdemeanor of the first degree if the check or order is $1,000 or more but is less than $75,000
  • A felony of the third degree if the check or order is $75,000 or more.
  • If this is your third or subsequent offense within a five-year period, regardless of the amount of the check or order, you can be up against a felony of the third degree.

If you are convicted you will not only have to reimburse the party you wrote the bad check to, you will also have to pay interest on the amount and any service charges due to the bank.

What To Do If You Are Charged

If you are charged with writing bad checks, do not anger the arresting officer unnecessarily. At this stage, do not discuss what happened with the police or claim your innocence.

  • As with most criminal charges, you should not talk to the police or prosecutors without your attorney by your side. What you say can be taken out of context and used against you.
  • If the police question you, tell them you want a lawyer and politely refuse to answer their questions.

What Your Philadelphia Fraud Attorney Can Do

Your attorney will carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.

  • Your lawyer will make every effort to discredit any evidence not in your favor.
  • Much of what your lawyer can do to help you will depend on the exact circumstances of your case.
  • If you did not intentionally write a bad check your lawyer will try to show it was a mistake.

Your Philadelphia fraud attorney will be looking at every avenue that can help you, so it’s important that you give them all of the information that can support your case.

How A Lawyer Will Help

When you are up against a bad checks charge, even before your first hearing you will be facing a determined prosecutor. You need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine your best course of action.

Pennsylvania Bad Checks Law

Bad checks is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 41. Read the code here.

Questions? Contact us today.

Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.