Unraveling the Consequences of Bad Check Offenses

There are various reasons a person might unintentionally pass a bad check. For instance, perhaps they paid someone with a bad check because they genuinely didn’t know their account lacked the funds to cover it.

Such a misunderstanding usually doesn’t result in legal trouble if you can correct the issue. However, some people pass or draw bad checks knowingly. In Nevada, doing so constitutes a bad check offense. A conviction for this type of fraud can result in various penalties.

Legal Definition & Types of Bad Check Offenses

Under Nevada law, a bad check offense occurs when someone willingly, and with the intent to defraud, draws or passes a check to obtain: 

  • Money
  • Valuable property
  • Services
  • The use of property
  • Credit from a licensed gaming institution

The person drawing or passing the check must know they don’t have the funds or credit to cover the check to commit a bad check offense in Nevada.

Consequences of Writing Bad Checks

Penalties for bad check offenses can vary depending on several factors, including the amount for which the person wrote the check.

A person who commits a bad check offense may be guilty of a misdemeanor if the bad check amount is under $1,200. Per Nevada law, potential penalties for a misdemeanor include:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • A maximum fine of $1,000
  • A combination of a fine and jail time

A person may be guilty of a category D felony in Nevada if they attempt to pass a bad check for $1,200 or more. They may also be guilty of a category D felony if they attempt to pass multiple bad checks totaling $1,200 or more within 90 days. Or, they may face category D felony charges if they previously received three misdemeanor convictions for the same or similar crimes. Potential penalties for a conviction for a category D felony include:

  • At least one year in state prison but no more than four years
  • A fine of up to $5,000 (unless a law justifies a higher fine)

A person guilty of a category D felony bad check offense may also have to pay restitution.

In addition, a person may be guilty of a gross misdemeanor in Nevada if they use a bad check in an attempt to pay wages exceeding $1,200. Penalties for a gross misdemeanor conviction are:

  • Imprisonment for no more than 364 days
  • A maximum fine of $2,000
  • A combination of a fine and jail time

Any bad check offense is a serious matter. However, it’s not uncommon for Nevada district attorneys to offer leniency in bad check cases when defendants can repay what they owe.

Navigating the Legal System

Have you been accused of or charged with a bad check offense in Nevada? If so, take the following steps to protect your rights:

  • Don’t admit guilt – Exercise your right to remain silent if the police arrest you or attempt to question you without your lawyer present. Anything you say could be used to try to prove your guilt. Protect yourself by hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you. 
  • Don’t discuss your case or post about it on social media – Avoid discussing your bad check offense. You should only discuss your case with your attorney. Don’t post anything related to your case on social media. If possible, refrain from social media usage entirely while your case remains ongoing.
  • Cooperate with your lawyer to build a strong case – An accusation of a bad check offense doesn’t automatically mean you’re guilty. You may be facing charges for a crime you didn’t commit. If so, provide your lawyer with the information they need to show why the case against you is weak.
  • Determine if you can repay what you owe – If you are convicted of a bad check offense, offering to pay what you owe might positively impact sentencing. Consulting with an attorney is wise, even if you can repay the amount of a bad check.

Prevention and Best Practices

The law requires a person to pass a bad check willingly and to defraud another party. Thus, you may not face charges if you pass a bad check accidentally. However, guarding against passing bad checks in the first place is the best way to avoid being charged with a bad check offense. Ways to prevent passing or drawing a bad check include:

  • Confirm funds are available – Before attempting to pay with a check (or a similar instrument, like a casino marker), confirm you have sufficient funds to cover the check amount. You must also confirm that funds remain available when the party cashes or processes the check. You could be guilty of a bad check offense if you pay someone with a check, knowing you won’t have the funds in your account to cover it once someone attempts to redeem the check.
  • Limit who can write checks – You don’t necessarily have to be the person passing a bad check to commit a bad check offense. You may also face legal trouble if a representative of your business passes a bad check in your name. Thus, if you own a business, limit the number of employees who can use checks to make payments on behalf of your business. Ensure employees who can pay with checks on your behalf receive thorough training.

Mistakes happen. That said, mistakes involving bad checks can result in criminal accusations. Avoid such charges by applying these tips.

Bad Check Charges Are Serious

If you’re facing bad check charges, an attorney can help protect your rights. At De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration, our Las Vegas bad check defense lawyers have vast experience representing people charged with bad check offenses and similar crimes. We will review the facts of your case and determine every legal option. Learn more about your rights by contacting us online or calling us today for a confidential consultation.