In Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-1807 “Issuing Bad Checks” occurs when a person issues or passes a check knowing that they do not have sufficient funds in their account for the full payment of that check as well as all other checks outstanding at the time the check was issued by the defendant.
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Possible Punishment for Issuing Bad Checks
The issuance of a bad check is a class one (1) misdemeanor. The range of punishment for an offense is anywhere from probation with zero (0) days in jail, up to six (6) months in jail. Additionally, there could be a zero (0) dollar fine up to twenty-five hundred ($2500.00) fine with an additional 84% of surcharges added to that amount. Issuing a bad check in an amount of five thousand dollars or more is a class six (6) felony if the person fails to pay the full amount of the check, including accrued interest at the rate of 12% per year, and any other required fees within sixty days after receiving notice that the check bounced. For a first offense a class six (6) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of four (4) months to two (2) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is nine (9) months to two and three quarters (2.75) years in prison. If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) to five and three quarters (5.75) years of incarceration.
Possible Defenses for Issuing Bad Checks
The Bad Checks statute specifically identifies three defenses to a Bad Checks prosecution. The first situation where prosecution is inappropriate is when the person receiving the check (the payee) knows, or should know, that the payer of the check (the person whose bank account it is) does not have sufficient funds in their account to cover the check at that particular time. Typically this occurs when the payee has been asked to hold on to the check and cash it in a couple of days, when the defendant either gets paid or a refund goes through. The second defense for Issuing Bad Checks is when the check is “post-dated” (there is a future date written on the check) and on that date sufficient funds are actually deposited into the defendant’s account to cover all the outstanding checks. The last defense is when the insufficiency of the funds resulted from an adjustment to the check writer’s account by the bank without notice to that person. In other words, the bank made some type of withdrawal for fees and service charges without notifying the account holder, which then resulted in a check bouncing. Another defense that is not listed in the statute, but is a defense nonetheless, is that the defendant lacked knowledge that the check would bounce. A conviction under this statute is only appropriate where the defendant wrote the check knowing that the check would bounce, and not intending to have sufficient funds to pay off the debt. If the defendant was charged for something mistakenly at a store, or a family member went and withdrew money from the account without the defendant’s knowledge, that is a defense to a Bad Checks charge.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Bad Checks lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Phoenix Bad Check Lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Phoenix Bad Check Lawyers know the system well. For a Free Initial Consultation, call us at 602-307-0808.
Contact The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor and speak to a Phoenix Bad Check Lawyer. We will assist you with your Issuing Bad Checks case.