Check Fraud: How to Stay out of Jail
In legal terms, fraud is the act of intentionally deceiving another person with false information or trickery in order to benefit the person committing the fraud. Check fraud is the use of checks to deprive a person, business or bank of money or valuables.
Check fraud frequently occurs when a person pays for items with a check that is linked to a bank account that does not have sufficient funds to complete the transaction. It can also occur when someone forges a signature on a check, prints a fake check or uses a fake ID to pass a check.
Check fraud crimes can be prosecuted as federal offenses. This is because banking institutions are regulated by the federal government and defrauding a federal institution can be prosecuted in federal court.
Check Fraud Defenses
It’s possible to defend against check fraud charges with a sound legal strategy. Many of these defense strategies will focus on introducing evidence that weakens the prosecution’s claims.
Some possible defense strategies can involve:
- Arguing that the defendant was forced to pass a bad check
- Arguing that the defendant passed a bad check by accident
- Arguing that the defendant had prior authorization to use another person’s checks
A successful legal defense may result in reduced or dropped charges.
How To Stay out of Jail
It may be possible to avoid jail time after being charged with check fraud. Although each case is different and the outcome will depend on the individual facts of each case, certain strategies may result in dropped jail time.
For example, if the defendant was placed under duress, intimidated or threatened to use a bad check, the prosecution may not be able to prove criminal intent. This could result in dropped or reduced charges.
In another example, a defendant may have written a bad check without realizing that there were insufficient funds to clear the check. In this case, criminal intent is not established and the charges may be thrown out.
Finally, it might be possible to claim that another person loaned their checkbook to the defendant with permission to use it. In this instance, the prosecution may not be able to prove that the defendant acted with intent to commit fraud.
If a person is facing check fraud charges, it is important to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. Because each case can have vastly different details, it is impossible to predict what will happen in different circumstances. Consulting with a lawyer is critical for developing a solid defense strategy and reducing the possibility of jail time.