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Is it illegal to write a bad check?

| Mar 20, 2021 | Theft Charges

If you write a check in New Jersey for more money than you have in your account, you’ve officially written a bad check. Some people intentionally write bad checks to defraud others. However, some people write bad checks by accident, and by the time they realize what happened, it’s too late to take it back.

Can you go to jail for accidentally writing a bad check?

According to criminal law, it’s illegal to write a bad check. However, it’s possible to write a bad check without realizing it. You might have forgotten about an automatic withdrawal or thought you had more money in your account than you actually did. You weren’t trying to defraud anyone; you just made a mistake.

If you accidentally write a bad check, you probably won’t have to hire a criminal defense attorney. At most, your bank will probably charge you an overdraft fee. However, if someone suspects that you intentionally wrote a bad check, they might accuse you of fraud. Most states categorize bad checks as a misdemeanor, but you still don’t want a criminal charge on your record.

To avoid writing bad checks, it’s important to check your balance before you write a check even if you’re confident that you have enough money in the bank. Most banks have mobile apps that make it easy to check your balance wherever you are. You could also add overdraft protection to your account. If you write a bad check, you won’t have to pay an overdraft fee, but you might have to pay a regular fee for the service.

What should you do if someone accuses you of fraud?

If you accidentally write a bad check, it’s unlikely that someone will accuse you of fraud. But if they do, you may need an attorney to help you defend yourself in court. Fraud accusations could range from bad checks to embezzlement, forgery, Ponzi schemes and other white-collar crimes. Depending on the severity of the charges, you might face massive fines and even jail time. An attorney may be able to help you prove your innocence or get the charges reduced in court.