In today’s increasingly cashless society, transactions via credit card or check offer increased convenience for consumers and allow business owners to take advantage of sales that might be lost due to a consumer’s lack of cash on hand. Because these transactions are so important to businesses, issuing a bad check is considered a crime not only in the Phoenix Metro area, but across the State of Arizona. In Arizona, writing bad checks is addressed by A.R.S. §13-1807, which punishes those who knowingly issue a check with insufficient funds in their account for full payment on that check and their other liabilities.
If you have been charged with a violation of the “Issuing Bad Checks” statute of A.R.S. §13-1807, obtaining legal assistance is important. DM Cantor can help you fight these charges; contact us anytime via our secure, confidential online form or by phone at 602-737-2812 to schedule a free case review.
Potential Legal Consequences of Writing Bad Checks
As with other offenses, the punishment for passing a bad check depends upon the circumstances as well as your prior criminal history, if any. Generally, issuing a bad check is considered a class one misdemeanor, with the penalties ranging from a six-month jail sentence to zero jail and probation only. You may also be subject to a fine of up to $2,500 with an 84 percent surcharge attached to the amount.
If the bad check is for an amount of at least $5,000 and you fail to pay the full amount within 60 days of notice of the check bouncing, then the crime is considered a class six felony. To avoid the class six felony, you must pay back the full amount at a rate of 12 percent annual interest and any fees accrued within the 60 days. Punishment for a class six felony is between four months and two years in prison or probation with up to a year in jail. If this is your second offense, the punishment increases to a prison sentence of at least nine months but no more than two years and nine months. Meanwhile, third-time offenders face a prison sentence of up to five years and nine months, but no less than two years and three months.
Potential Defenses to Bad Check Charges
If you have been charged with passing a bad check, a conviction is not a certainty. DM Cantor can assert several defenses on your behalf, such as where the check recipient knows, or should know, that the defendant has insufficient funds to cover the check. This situation often arises where the recipient fails to abide by instructions to wait for a few days to cash the check due to an anticipated refund or deposit. This defense is similar to the defense of having post-dated a check, where the defendant has taken into account a future increase in available funds by writing a future date on the check.
It is also a defense to a bad check charge if the bank adjusted your account without providing you notice of the changes, resulting in insufficient funds. This typically occurs in the context of unannounced fees or service charges, as this precludes you from knowing that you didn’t have enough money to cover the check.
In addition to defenses directly specific to bad checks charges, our firm will help you establish more general defenses, if applicable. These include denial of access to a lawyer or Miranda rights violations, in which the police coerce you into making a non-voluntary, incriminating statement or fail to read you your rights. DM Cantor is also dedicated to scrutinizing every aspect of the prosecution’s case, so we may find forensic flaws, sloppy police reports, misleading or inaccurate statements, and other mistakes that will help reduce or eliminate your charges.
DM Cantor is a law firm with many former prosecutors on staff, meaning we have unique and valuable insight into the criminal defense process. Additionally, the firm has been given the highest Martindale Hubbell® rating of AV®, so you can be confident we have the skills and resources to help you. Additionally, every lawyer at the firm is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, and David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization.
For a free consultation to help you understand how we can assist you in your bad checks case, contact us anytime via our secure, confidential online form or by phone at 602-737-2812.