Bad Check Charges

Bad Check Charges in California/ also referred to as Insufficient Funds

Penal Code Section 476a (a)- Any person who for himself or as the agent or representative of another or as an officer of a corporation, willfully, with intent to defraud, makes or draws or utters or delivers any check, or draft or order upon any bank or depositary, or person, or firm, or corporation, for the payment of money, knowing at the time of such making, drawing, uttering, or delivering that the maker or drawer or the corporation has not sufficient funds in, or credit with said bank or depositary, or person, or firm, or corporation, for the payment of such check, draft, or order and all other checks, drafts, or orders upon such funds then outstanding, in full upon its presentation, although no express representation is made with reference thereto, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison.

When a person is being charged in a “bad checks” case they are usually referring to a violation of Penal Code Section 476a (a) which makes it a crime to pass a check when you do not have enough funds in your account to cover the check. In order to prove their case, the Prosecution must show that the action was willful and deliberate. An accounting error or simple mistake would not be a violation of this code section regardless of the amount of the check. 

The typical bad check prosecution is where a person will pay rent, a car payment, or any other regular bill with knowledge that there is insufficient funds in their account, but with the hope that they will eventually get the money before the check clears, or that a recently deposited check will clear in time. When the check later bounces, a report is made, and criminal charges may be filed. Generally, the charges filed will be one count of issuing checks to defraud and another for false pretenses. Although these are similar charges, they are unique enough so that the prosecutor may attempt to pursue both charges.

If the District Attorney has enough evidence to establish that the accused knew that his/her account did not have sufficient funds when the check was drafted, then successfully defending that case will be virtually impossible without an experienced fraud defense attorney on your side. A bad check charge can be dismissed by an experienced attorney who knows your local court and prosecutor if it can be shown that there was some good faith misunderstanding or error on the part of the accused.

In such cases, a knowledgeable attorney who gets involved early on during the investigation stage can even be successful enough to help avoid such charges from ever being filed by speaking with the District Attorney prior to the court date in an effort to avoid the filing of charges altogether. The District Attorney will sometimes agree not to file charges if compensation is rendered to the victim. 

Penal Code Section 476a(a) can be charged as a MISDEMEANOR which exposes the accused to a maximum of one year in jail or it can be charged as a FELONY which exposes the accused to a maximum of 3 years in state prison. In addition, for high dollar amounts the maximum time in prison can increase as an enhancement under the penal code.

If all else fails, our attorneys can help keep you or your loved one from going to jail by negotiating an alternative sentencing scheme for the accused to do diversion, work release, community service or house arrest in order to avoid losing their freedom.

Contact the attorneys at LA Defense Team who can make a difference in YOUR case. If you, a friend or a loved one is facing bad check charges in Los Angeles county, or facing insufficient funds charges in Los Angeles, or is being investigated for bad check charges in Los Angeles, don't wait and don’t hesitate, pick up the phone and call our office immediately, your call is FREE! 

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