Legal Defenses to Bad Check Fraud Charges (PC 476)
California Penal Code Section 476 makes it a crime to make, pass or possess (or attempt to make or pass) a fake or altered check. To be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor must prove that you knew that it was fake or altered, and that you intended to defraud another person by passing off the check as genuine.
Under California Penal Code Section 476a, it is a crime to make or pass a check knowing that the funds in the account from which the check is drawn are insufficient to cover the amount of the check. To be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor must also show that you intended to commit a fraud. So how can an attorney help you if you are facing check fraud charges?
Your first step is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. He or she can then help you construct a defense based upon any or all of the following theories:
You had no intention of committing a bad check fraud
In California, any charge relating to fraud can only stand if it can be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to commit the fraudulent act. This can be a difficult burden of proof for the prosecution because it requires evidence that points to your specific intent to defraud.
You did not know that you were writing a bad check
In order to be convicted of this crime, you must have known you were writing a bad check. The prosecution will attempt to prove that you had knowledge that the check would not cover the amount for which it was written, but you wrote it anyways.
If this is a valid defense in your case, an experienced attorney will attempt to show that you were simply unaware of the document’s falsity. If your attorney can successfully raise this defense, the charges against you will could be dismissed or you could be acquitted of the charges.
You were under duress
In a duress situation, you intentionally commit the criminal act, but do so because of coercion from another person. Under California law, duress is a legal defense to many crimes because you did not commit the crime of your own free will.
For example, suppose you get a threatening letter saying that if you fail to pay someone $10,000, your child will be seriously harmed. You are also told that if you go to the police, the same result will happen. Not having the money, you write a fake check and attempt to cash it at the bank so that you can give $10,000 cash to the person who made the threat. The bank calls the police and you are arrested.
Under these facts, you acted under duress. You would not have acted to commit check fraud without the threat against your family. In such a case, you should not be convicted of check fraud.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
In addition to the defenses above, there are numerous other ways we can defend you against charges of check fraud. The first step you should always take is to seek the help of a skilled and experienced criminal defense law firm. At Wallin & Klarich, our team of attorneys has been successfully helping clients fight against fraud charges for more than 40 years. We work tirelessly on behalf of our clients, and the success of our fraud defense attorneys has earned us widespread recognition, including a 5 out of 5 AV rating on Lawyers.com, a 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO.com, and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.