Maryland Fraud and Bad Check Defense Lawyers
Fraud and bad check laws in the State of Maryland are covered in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article, Title 8, which covers bad checks, credit card offenses, and identity theft. The fraud statute related to Bad Checks are covered in Criminal Law sections 8-101 to 8-108
What is a bad check violation
An alleged bad check criminal offense occurs when a person gives another person or business a bad check for an immediate exchange of goods or services under two conditions: (1) an immediate exchange for goods or property (as opposed to checks for rent, utilities or car payments which must be pursued through civil litigation) and (2)the check must have been refused for payment upon presentation to the bank or institution on which it was drawn for reasons of insufficient funds, a non-existent account, a closed account, or an account on hold. The person who received the bad check which was refused can go to the commissioner' office in the courthouse or jail of their local jurisdiction and swear out a complaint that you provided a bad check, which results in charges that will be sent to you with a summons to appear in court for trial on the criminal charge.
What are the possible penalties if I am found guilty of a bad check?
It depends on the monetary value of the check for goods or services as to whether the offense is considered a felony or a misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty or fine under Criminal Law Section 8-106
- If the value is under $100, the offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty is 90 days of incarceration and $500 fine.
- If the value is under $1500, the offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty is 1 year of incarceration and $500 fine.
- If the value is between $1500 and $25,000, the offense is a felony with a maximum penalty of 5 years of incarceration and $15,000 fine.
- If the value is between $25,000 and $100,0000, the offense is a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years of incarceration and $15,000 fine.
- If the value is above $100,000, the offense is a felony with a maximum penalty of 20 years of incarceration and $25,000 fine.
What if the goods and services that I received were the payment of court costs?
That is a separate offense accounted for in the statute. If the elements are met, and you presented a bad check to the court to pay for fines and costs, you would be guilty of a bad check offense and subject to a penalty of up to 60 days of incarceration or a fine of up to $100, or both.
If I write a bad check because there is not enough money in my account, will I immediately be charged with a crime?
No. The law allows ten days from the date your check was refused for payment for insufficient funds within which you can provide money to make the seller whole. However, if the check was written on a non-existent account, closed account, or an account on hold to can be charged immediately.
What if the seller agrees to float your check, or hold it for a few days before cashing it?
You cannot be charged with a bad check violation in instances where the seller agrees to float your check, as it, in effect, extends your credit. Without an immediate exchange, the holder of the check must resort to civil litigation to recover the funds owed to the seller.
How can they prove that I knew I had no money in my account?
The law presumes you know what is happening with your accounts. Under Criminal Law Section 8-104(a), for instance, the person who writes the check is presumed to know there are insufficient funds whenever there are insufficient funds to cover the check in question and other outstanding checks. Further, � 8-104(b) holds the same presumption if the person had no account or, the person had insufficient funds at the time the check was written, was presented for payment within 30 days, and the check was refused for insufficient funds.
Don't go to Court with an ambulance chaser!
It is best to hire an attorney early to address the charges with the aggrieved party in advance of court to mitigate any penalties that may be accrued, as well as explore defenses. Most of the statutes carry explicit elements related to time limits and immediate exchange which may rise to the level of an affirmative defense. Max Frizalone and Luke Woods have experience in negotiating and litigating bad check cases and can help you with addressing your criminal charges related to bad checks.
We pride ourselves on being one of Maryland's most accessible law firms. Our 24 hour attorney line is always open, give us a call and be directly connected with [Max Frizalone or Luke Woods. We are more than happy to give you a free consultation and case review. Don't wait until the last minute to find the right attorney for your case. Call us or fill out one of our contact forms to request an appointment today.
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Upper Marlboro, MD 20772