17. July 2012 10:46
It could be an honest mistake and completely unintentional, but did you know that writing a check without having enough funds to back it up could result in criminal charges of fraud? While check fraud is when one knowingly writes a check that cannot be covered and obtaining property or services in exchange, there are a number of exceptions that may be used by an attorney in your defense.
Some examples are:
- Post-dated check: A check with a date that is after the day of deposit may not be prosecuted criminally. The post-dating of the check creates an extension of credit, albeit for a short period of time, and the case is then considered a bad debt condition.
- If you write a check and tell the person you’re giving it to that you don’t have enough money to cover it, but will by the time the other party deposits it, you’ve entered into a verbal agreement and extension of credit.
- Forgery: When someone other than you writes a check from your account without your consent, you cannot be charged with fraud.
- Stopped Payment: When a check is dishonored because payment was stopped, and not because of the lack of funds.
- Payment of Loan or Other Debt: A bounced check used to pay off loans or other debts may not be result in criminal prosecution.
- Involuntary intoxication or other situations that impair your judgment of right and wrong.
- Joint Accounts: If more than one person, a husband and wife for example, have access to writing checks leaving the other with reasonable lack of knowledge that that check would bounce, e.g. both people writing checks on the same day to different creditors.
If you are found guilty of writing a bad check
- More serious than is presumed by many
- May result in a criminal record
- May result in a suspended license
- Over $150 is a felony and may result in up to 5 years in prison
- Pasco County will file criminal charges on a bad check no matter the amount of the check
- This is not true everywhere, but in Pasco there is a no tolerance policy