If you write a check in Las Vegas and don't have sufficient funds in your account, you can be arrested and charged with a crime. Depending on the value of the check or checks, you may even be prosecuted for a felony offense. You may have come to this page after just recently learning about a pending bad check case that has been in the system in arrest warrant status. If so, you probably want to handle the case as quickly as possible, avoid any possible criminal penalties, and move on with your life. If you are facing charges for passing a check without sufficient funds in your bank account, read about this charge below and learn how a criminal defense attorney can begin to help you resolve these charges right now.
NRS 205.130 is the state law that makes it a crime to pass a check without sufficient funds in your bank account. Specifically, this statute states that a person commits a crime if he "willfully, with an intent to defraud," draws or passes a check to obtain money, services, or the use of property, "when the person has insufficient money… to pay [the check] in full upon its presentation."
Notice that it isn't a crime to bounce a check unless there is an "intent to defraud." Intent to defraud is a guilty, criminal state of mind that is not present in many simple cases of bounced checks. This means that in order to obtain a criminal conviction in a bad check case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person passing the check didn't just make a mistake. On the contrary, the prosecutor must prove that the person passed the check knowing that he had no money, with the intent to defraud another person and obtain money, services, or some other benefit.
However, another Nevada statute provides a shortcut to prosecutors in proving intent to defraud. Specifically, pursuant to NRS 205.132, "intent to defraud and knowledge of insufficiency" is presumed in these certain instances: (1) when the check is drawn on a fake bank account; (2) when the person passing the check is notified that the check bounced and does not correct the error within 5 business days (by paying the full amount plus any handling fees); or (3) notice that the check bounced is sent to the address of the check passer by certified or registered mail and gets returned as non-deliverable.
Passing a check with insufficient funds is ordinarily a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 6 months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. However, if the face value of the check is $650 or more, the crime becomes a category D felony. A category D felony is punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. This is a probationable felony. This means that if you are convicted of a felony bad check charge, the judge has the discretion to suspend the prison sentence and place the defendant on a period of probation up to 5 years.
A person also faces felony insufficient funds prosecution if he passes, within a 90 day period, any series of checks totaling $650 or more in the State of Nevada.
Restitution is mandatory in bad check cases. This means that the value of property or money obtained in exchange for the bounced check must be paid back.
These potential punishments are intimidating. However, a criminal defense attorney can help you avoid these consequences in many instances. Read below to find out how.
If you have been charged with passing a check with insufficient funds, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney immediately. While passing bad checks can result in felony charges and serious consequences, in many instances these cases can be resolved quickly and favorably for the person accused. Specifically, it is not uncommon for a criminal defense attorney to negotiate a dismissal of the charge—even if the case has been charged as a felony bad check case.
I have successfully represented many people charged with passing checks with insufficient funds in Las Vegas. In many instances, people contact me after finding out they have an active felony warrant. In some instances, the warrant has been active for a long time—even years, unbeknownst to the person accused. If you have been charged with passing a bad check in Las Vegas, you may have moved across the country, and you may, understandably, fear arrest in your home state and extradition to Nevada.
If you contact me now, I will work to quickly and favorably resolve your insufficient funds check case. If you have received a summons and have an upcoming court date, I will appear for you. You will not ordinarily need to appear at the initial arraignment. On the other hand, if you have discovered that you have an arrest warrant, contact me now and I will place the matter on calendar as soon as possible. I will also contact the District Attorney's Bad Check Unit to negotiate your case, so that by the time we go to court, the case can be resolved and the warrant recalled pursuant to negotiations.
How fast can a bad check case be resolved? If you contact me now and we can agree upon a fee, I will place the matter on calendar in Las Vegas Justice Court. It ordinarily takes two business days to place a matter on calendar in Justice Court. So if you contact me Monday, I can file the motion the same day and have a court date for Wednesday morning. In the time between Monday and Wednesday, I will contact the Bad Check Unit and by Wednesday we can have the case resolved and the warrant recalled. In most instances, you will not need to make any personal court appearances. I will go to court for you.
If you have any questions about how I can help you with your pending bad check case, call or text me now on my personal mobile phone number, which is listed in various places on this website, including the top banner.
By Michael Pandullo