What You Need To Know About California’s Bad Check Law – California Penal Code Section 476(a)

Posted On: May 13, 2010 by Southern California Criminal Defense Attorney

If you write a bounced check in California, you can be criminally prosecuted. Under California Penal Code Section 476(a), it is a crime to write a check knowing that you have insufficient funds and the intent to defraud.

If the prosecution can prove that you knowingly wrote a bad check with the intent to deceive another person out of money or property, you will be convicted. This crime does not require proof that you fabricated a false check or wrote false information. The crime is completed the minute you knowingly write a check for an amount you did not actually have.

A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can raise certain defenses on your behalf. Depending on the facts of your case, a defense attorney can argue that you did not have the necessary intent to defraud because you reasonably believed that there would be sufficient funds to pay for the check amount. Again, depending on your facts, a defense attorney may also present evidence that you had informed the person receiving the check that you had insufficient funds, thus negating any intent to defraud. Without proof that you had the intent to defraud, the charge will likely be dismissed.

Bad check penalties can include a jail sentence of up to 3 years in state prison if the offense was charged as a felony. You will incur a bad check felony charge if the dollar amount of the check (or checks) you wrote exceeded $450. Any amount less than that will incur a misdemeanor charge, which brings with it a maximum jail sentence of 1 year in county jail.

If you would like to learn more, go to www.wklaw.com and read our “Bad Check” section. There you will find quick and relevant information about what options are available to you if you find yourself charged with writing a bad check.

At Wallin & Klarich, our criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in bad check laws and can help in your defense against bad check charges. We have over 30 years of experience handling bad check cases in California. Allow us to use our skill and knowledge to help you in your case. Call us today at 888-749-0034 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.