Writing Bad Checks
Bad Checks Defense Lawyer Las Vegas
Writing bad checks in Nevada can lead to serious penalties. According to the Nevada bad check law (Nev. Rev. Stat. §205.130), writing a bad check can lead to misdemeanor charges if the check was less than $1,200 or felony charges if it’s $1,200 or more.
However, in some cases, individuals charged with writing or passing bad checks may be eligible for a diversionary program (instead of prosecution) offered by the District Attorney’s Bad Check Unit in Las Vegas. The program allows offenders to make full restitution payments and administration fees while avoiding a criminal record.
It’s important to note that casino markers and bad checks are considered the same under the Nevada bad check law. If you’re facing charges for passing bad checks, you need an experienced and skilled lawyer in your corner. At The Vegas Lawyers (TVL), we have a powerful team of lawyers and paralegals to help you out of the most difficult situation. We’ve handled thousands of cases for satisfied clients. Call (702) 707-7000 today for your free and confidential consultation.
What Is Check Fraud in Nevada? (NRS 205.130)
Check fraud, the legal term for writing bad checks, occurs when an individual intentionally writes or passes a check or casino markers when they lack sufficient funds in their account. An individual can be convicted of check fraud if they knowingly and intentionally defraud, draw or pass a check to obtain:
- Money or other valuable assets
- Delivery of property
- The use of property
- Casino marker debt extended by a licensed gaming establishment
Generally, if your check bounces, Nevada automatically considers it check fraud. However, an experienced check fraud lawyer can help you prove your innocence by gathering the facts, investigating your case, and presenting a strong criminal defense on your behalf.
What is considered check fraud in Nevada? The litmus test for writing bad checks consists of two considerations, they include:
- The individual wrote the bad check with willful fraudulent intentions towards another individual or business.
- The person who writes the check can reasonably presume that their account will have insufficient funds when the check is drawn.
While most other laws operate on the premise of “innocent until proven guilty,” the opposite is true when it comes to the crime of “bad checks.” The Nevada bad check law automatically presumes that you’ve attempted to commit fraud the moment a check is cashed and the account it’s drawn from is not sufficiently funded.
The punishment for check fraud in Nevada depends on the amount of the check. The penalty for writing a bad check can include:
- Misdemeanor Check Fraud Penalties (under $1,200) – Up to $1K in fines, and possibly up to six months incarceration in jail.
- Felony Fraudulent Check Penalty ($1,200 or more) – Up to $5K in fines, restitution payments, and up to four years in prison.
It’s important to note that an individual previously convicted of three misdemeanor check fraud or similar crimes faces Category D felony charges and penalties. Under Nevada law, not all felonies are the same. The type of felony a person is charged with will determine the amount of jail time he or she is potentially facing.
Judges typically order defendants to pay restitution for the amount of the check and administrative fees as an additional check fraud punishment. However, in many cases, the Bad Check Unit of the Clark County District Attorney’s Office is willing to drop the charges, fraudulent check penalties, or both if the check amount is repaid in full.
Although there is a presumption of guilt in most bad check cases, there are a few effective defenses for fraudulent check charges in Las Vegas. The most common check fraud defenses include the following:
- Another Person Wrote The Check: In many cases, false check fraud accusations stem from identity theft. For example, someone steals your checks, forges your signature, and attempts to purchase services or goods. In this case, an experienced check fraud defense attorney can hire a forensic expert witness to help prove your innocence.
- You Paid The Amount of The Check Within Five Days: Generally, if an individual facing check fraud allegations pays their outstanding debt within five days, Nevada no longer considers their intentions fraudulent. It’s important to note that casinos typically give defendants ten days or more before pursuing legal action.
- You Were Incapacitated: Suppose you were seriously sick or otherwise incapacitated at the time your check bounced. In that case, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to provide enough evidence of your incapacitation to dilute the prosecution’s case against you. However, incapacitation alone doesn’t guarantee that your charges will be dropped.
It’s important to note that bankruptcy is not a viable defense in most cases. That’s because casino markers and bad checks are non-dischargeable debts in bankruptcy unless your criminal charges are dismissed.
Generally, if you’ve been accused of writing a bad check, one of the best check fraud defenses is to speak with the individual or business and come to a repayment agreement before the Bad Check Unit of the DA’s Office in Las Vegas gets involved.
However, if you’ve been falsely accused of writing bad checks and want to clear your name, it’s essential that you consult with a lawyer for bad checks in Las Vegas as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk a criminal record, check fraud penalties, and restitution payments.
If you’ve been convicted of writing bad checks, you will have a criminal record. How long your criminal record must remain visible depends on the type of conviction. Learn more about the bad checks record sealing eligibility timeline below.
- Misdemeanor Conviction – 365 days after the conclusion of your case
- Gross Misdemeanor – 24 months after your case concludes
- Felony Conviction – 5 years after your case concludes
- Case Dismissal – Immediate eligibility for bad checks record sealing
Immigration and bad checks are not a good combination. Non-citizen immigrants charged with check fraud face more than criminal consequences. They also risk damaging their immigration status in the U.S. That’s because passing bad checks is considered a crime of moral turpitude (since it involves fraud) which can lead to removal from the United States.
Will I get deported if I write bad checks?
Crimes of moral turpitude can lead to an immigration court hearing and an eventual order of deportation or removal. Generally, the best way to avoid deportation or other negative immigration consequences is to get your case completely dismissed. Otherwise, you risk jail time, fines, and deportation, if convicted.
In most criminal defense cases, the prosecution is incentivized to seek a conviction. However, when it comes to writing bad checks, their goal is to collect the money owed to the victim. With that in mind, many check fraud plea deals offer dismissed charges so long as the defendant sets up and honors a repayment plan with the victim.
It’s important to note that most casinos are willing to give casino marker debt owners additional time if they individual speaks with them. However, ignoring the debt or neglecting to reach a repayment plan can lead to serious criminal penalties.
What Should I Do If The DA’s Office Contacts Me Regarding A Bad Check?
As noted earlier, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office has a dedicated Bad Check Unit that helps businesses (e.g. casinos) collect on bad checks and casino marker debts. From a legal perspective, there is little difference between a bad check and a casino marker. The principal underlying each crime is the same – a person issues a financial instrument or takes a loan when there are insufficient funds to cover the transaction.
If you’re contacted by the DA’s Office regarding a bad check or a casino marker, you have only 10-days to respond. Otherwise, a warrant may issue for your arrest. Given these consequences, it’s very important to immediately contact the right lawyer, a lawyer with skill and experience handling these types of cases.
Contact The Vegas Lawyers If You’re Facing Bad Check Charges
Have you been accused of writing bad checks in Las Vegas? If so, you should immediately consult with an experienced check fraud attorney to discuss your case. A bad checks lawyer will investigate your case, uncover pertinent evidence, offer sound advice, and develop a strong check fraud defense on your behalf.
Contact The Vegas Lawyers at (702) 707-7000 to speak with a proven Las Vegas, Nevada check fraud lawyer.