Writing Bad Checks in New Jersey
Writing a bad check is considered bank fraud and carries a harsh penalty depending on the amount of money involved. New Jersey law doesn’t give such a person the benefit of the doubt as it assumes that they committed the act knowing that funds were not available. This might sound harsh but the point is passing such a check knowingly or unknowingly comes with serious repercussions for the parties involved, especially the recipient. Although considered a minor offense, such a charge going on your record can have a serious impact on your future endeavors, thus should be handled with care with the help of a lawyer.
The good news is after a period of five years, a defendant charged with writing bad checks can have their record expunged. This only applies to those who have not been accused of other crimes prior or in the future. They should also not have exceeded three petty disorderly or disorderly offense convictions.
Writing Bad Check Charges in NJ
Checks are considered “bad” when the person writing them knowingly has insufficient funds in their account to cover the check. It can also happen if the person writing the check doesn’t have an account with the bank after deleting or closing it. This causes the check to “bounce” when it is cashed by the recipient.
The reality is that many write these checks to pay for their necessities in the hopes of paying the monies as soon as they can. This can get away from you, considering the increasing number of bills and the deteriorating economy. What we are trying to say is that we understand why you did it, and we want to help you get the charges dismissed or negotiate a settlement that is reasonable to the parties involved.
NJ Penalties for Writing Bad Checks
Bad checks in NJ are considered a second-degree crime if the check is $75,000 or more and third degree if the check is $1,000 or more but less than $75,000. If the check is, at least, $200 but less than $1,000, the crime is considered fourth degree, while a person is considered disorderly if the check is for less than $200.
A disorderly person offense conviction in New Jersey attracts a fine of $1,000 ($2,000 for a repeat offender) with a possible jail term of six months and compensation for the amount of said check. The judge can also issue probation or community service as punishment for the offense.
Second-degree charges might attract a jail term of 10 years and a fine of $150,000, third-degree $15,000 in fines and five years in jail while fourth-degree attracts a fine of $10,000 with 18 months in jail. Repeat offenders and people with a criminal record could see stiffer penalties.
Law Against Writing Bad Checks
New Jersey law strictly prohibits the issuing of bad checks, debit card orders, drafts or stopping payment on a draft, check or written order with the intent to commit fraud. State laws do not recognize postdated checks as bad checks meaning that one cannot be charged for it. This is because they are not payable on demand and thus one cannot prove the defendant intended to commit fraud when the check was issued. Such an argument is enough to have the charge dismissed; thus, the law doesn’t recognize these types of checks as bad checks.
Writing Bad Checks Lawyer NJ
Although not common, it is possible for someone to be falsely accused of writing a bad check. This can happen more so if you write a check when you have the money in your account and the recipient delays cashing it. This could result in a bad check if you had already spent the money by the time the check was cashed. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to arm yourself with a lawyer to help you fight this charge competently. If you have been charged with writing a bad check in New Jersey, contact The Law Office of Benjamin Friedman for experienced legal representation.