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New Jersey Check Fraud Lawyer

Passing a bad check can come with serious consequences in New Jersey. Writing checks that your bank account does not have the money to cover can be a criminal offense – one with severe penalties depending on the size of the check.   But you do not have to face those penalties alone. If you have been charged with check fraud, a New Jersey check fraud lawyer can help. Consult a skilled fraud attorney that can attempt to build a solid case for you.

What is Check Fraud?

Under N.J. Stat. § 2C:21-5, check fraud is committed by a person who issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee.

Knowledge that the check will not be honored is presumed when the writer did not have an account at the bank that issued the check at the time the check was written, or when the writer did not make good on a bad check after being notified that the check did not clear.

Anyone can pass a bad check if they are not careful, but even an honest mistake can turn into a criminal case if the issue is not remedied as soon as possible. A New Jersey check fraud lawyer can work with individuals to remedy the situation.

Penalties for Check Fraud

The severity of a check fraud offense depends on the size of the bad check. The following indicates the offense degree and possible penalties for each tier of check value.

A bad check written over $75,000 is considered a second-degree crime with a prison term of 5 to 10 years and fines of up to $150,000. In these cases, incarceration is presumed, so a prison term is a significant possibility, regardless of criminal history.

A bad check written between $1,000 and $75,000 is a third-degree crime that can come with a prison term of three to five years and fines of up to $15,000.

Bad checks drafted between $200 to $1,000 are considered fourth-degree crimes with potential penalties including probation, prison terms up to 18 months, jail terms up to one year, and fines up to $10,000.  For charges brought for fourth-degree crimes and disorderly persons offenses, a New Jersey check fraud lawyer may be able to work with prosecutors to see that a person can avoid a conviction altogether or serve a probationary or fine-only sentence.

Disorderly Persons Offenses

And the smallest of check fraud offenses are for checks written for under $200. If found guilty, a person can be charged with a disorderly persons offense, up to 60 days in county jail, and fines of up to $1,000.

A vast majority of the check fraud charges brought in New Jersey fall into the lowest tier.  Indeed, check fraud under $200 is one of the most commonly charged disorderly persons offenses in the state.

Consulting a New Jersey Check Fraud Attorney

Whether you are facing jail time or a minor fine, a New Jersey check fraud lawyer can help you fight the charges.  Through skilled plea negotiations, your legal advocate may be able to reduce the charges to a lower tier or to an altogether different offense with less severe penalties.

If an acceptable solution cannot be reached before trial, a New Jersey check fraud attorney may be prepared to take your case to court and hold the prosecution to its burden of proof.

Check fraud can be a serious offense, and even in cases where the possible penalties seem manageable, it can result in a criminal record that follows you throughout your life.  A New Jersey check fraud lawyer understands what is at stake and is ready to help protect your freedom, livelihood, and reputation.