Ever since people have been able to use checks as a form of payment or as a means to withdraw money, there have been instances of issuing bad checks. This is a commonly charged offense, which tends to be only punishable as a misdemeanor. Even so, a conviction can become a major issue in your life that has the potential to affect your social, professional, and financial well-being.
Due to the possibility that this type of conviction can follow you throughout your life, it would be in your best interest to immediately begin working towards a solution. The most effective way of achieving a favorable case result is to work side by side with a capable criminal defense attorney who can advise you and provide legal counsel that allows you to productively argue your case.
Bad Check Defense Lawyer in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, TX
With the potential ramifications arising out of the issuance of bad checks conviction, covering all of your bases before arguing your case will allow you to favorably position yourself in order to get the charges reduced or dismissed. A criminal defense attorney can guide you through this complex and difficult legal process, easing the burden and helping you have a greater opportunity to successfully defend your alleged action and move on with your life.
The attorneys of the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy make up a firm that is well versed and experienced in these types of white-collar cases and will draw on this extensive legal knowledge to provide excellent client service while making certain that you are approaching each step in the criminal process in the correct way.
Their strict adherence to protecting individual rights guides their aggressive defense of individuals in Irving, Dallas, Carrollton, and Richardson, Texas. You can rest assured that you will be well taken care of with the McConathy legal team.
Call (972) 233-5700 or send an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with the attorneys of the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today. The legal team proudly represents individuals from the North Texas counties of Dallas, Collin, Wise, Johnson, Tarrant, Denton, Ellis, Parker, and Rockwall.
Issuance of Bad Checks under Texas Law
According to Texas Penal Code § 32.41, a person commits this offense if they issue or pass a check for the payment of money, knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank for the payment in full of the check or order, as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance.
This statute does not prevent the prosecution from establishing the required knowledge by direct evidence; however, for purposes of this section, the issuer’s knowledge of insufficient funds is presumed if:
- They had no account with the bank or other drawee at the time he issued the check or order; or
- Payment was refused by the bank or other drawee for lack of funds or insufficient funds on presentation within 30 days after issue, and the issuer failed to pay the holder in full within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal.
Issuance of a bad check is generally considered a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted, the presumptive sentence would be a fine not to exceed $500.
If the check or similar sight order that was issued or passed was for a child support payment the obligation for which is established under a court order, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor. This charge, if convicted, comes with a presumptive sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or fines not to exceed $2,000.
Texas Penal Code § 32.41 prohibits a person from passing or presenting checks for payment knowing that that an account does not have sufficient funds to cover payments in full of the check as well as other outstanding checks. The most contested issue in these cases is whether an alleged offender who presented a check really knew that the funds in an account were not sufficient.
Texas Penal Code § 32.41(b) establishes that a prosecutor can prove knowledge by direct evidence. In many cases, proving knowledge through direct evidence can be incredibly difficult for a prosecutor.
The state legislature made the task easier by creating certain presumptions that can allow, but do not require, that a jury presume a person had knowledge under certain circumstances. The bad check statute also provides that an issuer’s knowledge of insufficient funds is presumed if:
- the person who presented the check had no account with the bank at the time he or she issued the check;
- payment was refused by the bank for insufficient funds or lack of funds within 30 days after the check was issued; and
- the issuer of the check failed to pay the check holder in full within 10 days after receiving notice of the bad check and the banks refusal to honor the check.
A knowledge presumption in bad check cases does not exist when a check is a postdated check or order. Additionally, the notice provision in Texas Penal Code § 32.41(b)(2) can be actual notice or notice in writing if:
- the notice is sent by registered mail or certified mail with return receipt requested, by telegram with report of delivery requested, or by first class mail if the letter was returned unopened with markings indicating that the address is incorrect and that there is no current forwarding order;
- is addressed to the issuer at his address shown on: (A) the check or order; (B) the records of the bank or other drawee; or (C) the records of the person to whom the check or order has been issued or passed; and
- contains the following statement: “This is a demand for payment in full for a check or order not paid because of a lack of funds or insufficient funds. If you fail to make payment in full within 10 days after the date of receipt of this notice, the failure to pay creates a presumption for committing an offense, and this matter may be referred for criminal prosecution.”
Texas Penal Code § 32.41(d) establishes that if a notice is sent by registered mail or certified mail with a return receipt requested (or one of the other listed methods) then “it is presumed that the notice was received no later than five days after it was sent.” After a case is referred for prosecution, a person charged with passing a bad check under Texas Penal Code § 32.41 can pay restitution for a bad check through the prosecutor’s office if collection and processing were initiated through the prosecutor’s office. In all other cases, restitution can be paid through the court.
Stealing or Receiving Stolen Checks or Similar Sight Orders in Texas
A similar offense to writing a bad check is stealing a check or accepting a stolen check. This crime is found under Texas Penal Code § 32.24. Under this law, a person commits a criminal offense if they steal an unsigned check or similar sight order.
The law also provides that a person could be charged if they accept an unsigned or stolen check with the intent to use it, sell it, or transfer it to another person other than the individual to whom it was originally issued to. Stealing a check or similar sight order is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Other Consequences of Bad Check Crimes
As though fines and prison time are not bad enough, there can also be many other possible consequences associated with writing hot checks. After a person is convicted, they will have a criminal record that appears on their credit report and can stop them from getting any new credit.
This means that people could get turned away from landlords when they try to rent apartments because many business owners will not want to take a risk of a person with a history of not paying their bills. People could also struggle to get approved for automobile loans or mortgages.
If they do get approved, there will still be a good chance they will end up having to pay much higher interest rates. All of this may trap a person in a never-ending cycle of debt that makes it incredibly difficult to dig their way out of.
Check fraud could also appear in ChexSystems, which is a service that many banks use to determine if a potential customer has a history of writing bad checks. When a person has a record of check fraud in their ChexSystems file, they could be unable to open bank accounts and criminal records involving financial fraud will also make it harder to pursue certain careers.
Find A Dallas County Defense Attorney for Forgery Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you or a loved one has been charged with issuing bad checks in North Texas, take the necessary step in protecting your freedom and future by working with the qualified lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Experienced and aggressive, the Dallas criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can be counted on to make use of their vast legal knowledge to frame the most effective argument for your particular case.
Call (972) 233-5700 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss the specifics of your case today. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, and surrounding areas of Dallas County, Texas.