Defendant in CourtThis is the next post in my series on the handling of bad check cases in Phoenix and elsewhere throughout our state. My last post discussed the affirmative defenses available to an Arizona resident who has been charged with passing a bad check. It is important to understand that it is up to the defendant to prove the existence of an affirmative defense and that an attorney should be retained for assistance. In this article I will address another important point – the possibility of resolving one’s bad check case through a plea agreement. I cannot stress enough that one should not simply plead guilty to resolve their case. Criminal defense is not a “do it yourself” project and a lawyer should be retained immediately.

There are many instances in which a resident of Phoenix, Maricopa County, or elsewhere in Arizona will be charged with passing a bad check without an affirmative defense. In such circumstances, however, the prosecutor’s main goal is often to resolve the matter in a way which ensures funds to the payee of the check. It is not uncommon to resolve such matters through a plea agreement. Under such an agreement the defendant may enter a plea of guilty with adjudication being deferred. This means the Court does not immediately enter the conviction into the official record. The defendant will then be placed on informal probation and will be ordered to make restitution payments to the payee. If the defendant successfully completes probation and makes their restitution payments then the case will often be dismissed. This allows the defendant to get on with their life without having a permanent criminal record.

It is important to understand that entering into a plea agreement, like the one described above, is not a “free pass.” If one fails to make their restitution payments, or gets into additional trouble while on probation, then the Court may find them guilty of passing a bad check and impose the underlying sentence. The Court will also require that restitution be paid, which means that the defendant will still owe the amount of the check. I cannot stress enough that one should enter into a plea agreement which they are sure they can complete. This means that the plea agreement must include the amount of time the defendant will realistically need to make restitution payments.

As a Phoenix bad check lawyer I assist those in our area facing such situations. If you have been charged with passing an insufficient funds check, and are considering accepting a plea agreement, then contact my office today to speak with an attorney. I also handle cases in cities such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, and throughout Maricopa County. I also assist Pima County residents in Tucson and others throughout the state.