Writing a Bad Check | Los Angeles Check Fraud Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with writing a bad check under 476a, you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles Check Fraud Attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible results for you.

You should not take a charge of writing a bad check lightly as a conviction carries a maximum of three years in county jail, as well as payment of a fine of up to $10,000. So, to stay out of jail and avoid paying a hefty fine, you should contact an experienced check fraud attorney in Los Angeles at The H Law Group. Our attorneys will represent you throughout the entire criminal legal process. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

What is the Crime of Writing a Bad Check?

In California, Penal Code Section 476a makes it a crime for a person to write or pass a check from an account that he knows has insufficient funds to cover the amount of money written on the check.

For example, if you write a $500 check to pay for a new TV and you know your account only has $100 in it, the government can charge you with writing a bad check in violation of penal code 476a PC.

Here is another example, you go to your favorite clothing outlet and you write a check for $200 to pay for clothes that you purchased, but you wrote a check from an account that you know is closed, you can be charged with and convicted of writing a bad check.

If you have been charged with writing a bad check, you should promptly contact an experienced Los Angeles Check Fraud Attorney to represent you and defend you in court.

Penalties for Writing a Bad Check

Writing a bad check is a wobbler, meaning the prosecution has the discretion to charge it as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony writing a bad check is punished more harshly than misdemeanor writing a bad check. Usually, the amount of money on a check exceeds $950, the prosecution brings felony charges. However, if the amount of money is $950 or less, the government usually brings misdemeanor charges.

If the prosecution convicts a person of a misdemeanor violation of 476a, a person faces up to 12 months of jail, as well as a fine of up to $1000. However, if the prosecution convicts an individual of a felony violation of section 476a, an individual faces up to three years of imprisonment in California State Prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Proving the Defendant Wrote a Bad Check

For the prosecution to convict an individual of writing a bad check, the prosecution must prove a number of elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant.

  • The defendant willfully made, drew, or attempted to make or draw a check for the payment of money
  • At the time the defendant did so, the account had insufficient funds to cover the amount written on the check
  • The defendant knew that his account had insufficient funds, and
  • The defendant had the intent to defraud at the time he made the check

Defenses for Writing a Bad Check

If you have been charged with writing a bad check, there are a number of defenses that your Los Angeles Check Fraud Defense Attorney can use to defend you. Here are some defenses that may apply to your case:

  • The defendant did not have the intent to defraud another person
  • The defendant did not know his account had insufficient funds
  • The defendant post-dated the check—meaning the defendant told the payee not to cash the check until a later day so that he can add funds to the account
  • The defendant informed the payee of the check that the account had insufficient funds

Immigration Consequences

Writing a bad check does have immigration consequences because it is a crime that involves dishonesty and deceit. To be admissible into the United States and to become a U.S Citizen, an individual must have good moral standing. Having a conviction for a crime that involves deceit and dishonesty shows that you have bad morals. A conviction of this crime can render you inadmissible to the United States, it can get your deported, and it can prevent you from obtaining U.S Citizenship. So, if you have been charged with check fraud or writing a bad check, you should immediately contact a Los Angeles Check Fraud Lawyer to represent you and defend you so that you don’t go to jail.

Expungement – Can You Get a Conviction of Writing a Bad Check Expunged?

Yes, if you’re convicted of misdemeanor writing a bad check or felony writing a bad check and you don’t serve prison time, you may be able to get your conviction expunged (removed) from your criminal record. To get your conviction expunged, you must complete the terms of your probation and you must not be charged with another crime, and you must not be serving a sentence for a different crime.

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Check Fraud Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with writing a bad check, you should promptly contact an experienced Los Angeles Check Fraud Defense Attorney to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for you. At the outset of every case, our defense attorneys look over the facts of our clients’ cases to determine whether a dismissal is possible.

If a dismissal is possible, we will communicate this to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor refuses to dismiss your case, we will do all that we can to negotiate the best possible plea deal for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Charged with a Crime?


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Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.