Black checkbook with check and pen.This is the second post in my series on the handling of bad check charges in Phoenix as well as elsewhere in Arizona. My last post served as an overview of topics I will be discussing and discussed why area residents should contact an attorney if they find themselves charged. It is important that one retain counsel as a permanent criminal record will be harmful to future prospects. In this article I will explain what constitutes a “bad check” within our state’s criminal law system.

It is an Arizona crime to knowingly write a check if your bank account does not contain sufficient funds to cover all outstanding checks

Arizona imposes criminal penalties on those who write a check while knowing that their bank account does not contain sufficient funds for the check written as well as any other outstanding checks. In other words, if you are at the grocery store and write a check for $100 at a time when your bank account only contains $80, and the check bounces, then you may be subject to criminal prosecution. The payee (the person to whom you wrote the check) will first attempt to resolve the matter with you privately. If you do not settle the debt then they may refer to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. For most cases, this will result in the Defendant receiving a Summons in the mail and being informed of their initial Court date. If you find yourself in such a situation then you should contact a lawyer immediately.

If the check in question was less than $5,000 then the defendant will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This charge will carry a maximum jail sentence of six months, a maximum fine of $2,500, and the defendant will still be required to pay the payee in the form of restitution. It is also important to understand that one will also likely be facing burglary charges as the State will be alleging that the defendant entered the victim’s building with the intent of committing a crime (passing a bad check). For understandable reasons, one can become quite afraid when they realize that a $100 bad check suddenly has the potential of paying the $100, paying fines, going to jail, and facing felony charges.

Contact a Phoenix bad check lawyer immediately if you have been charged with a crime

If you have been notified of charges then you should contact a Phoenix bad check lawyer immediately. Once retained my office will immediately obtain the police reports, any statements from the payee, and help you formulate a strategy for your defense. Over my coming posts I will discuss defenses to a bad check case as well as the possibility of sealing a criminal record. Contact me 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.