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3 Ways to Avoid Charges After Passing Bad Checks

Brian J Smith June 11, 2018

As hard as you may try, it is possible that the bank could return a check you’ve written. If you write a check knowing you don’t have the money in the bank, you could be charged with a crime in Nevada. However, a criminal law attorney Las Vegas residents trust provided these three methods for avoiding criminal charges after your bank returns your check.

Proof of Sufficient Funds

One of the key elements of the Nevada bad check statute is that you must have had an intent to defraud the person you wrote the check to. If you truly did not mean to write a bad check, you may have a defense to criminal charges. If your account had insufficient funds when you wrote the check, the law presumes you intended to defraud the other person. However, if you can obtain bank records that show there were sufficient funds in the account at the time you wrote the check, the charges could be dropped.

Repayment of Money Owed

In Nevada, if you repay the balance of a bad check within five days’ notice that the check was returned, you should not be prosecuted under Nevada law. This portion of the law allows for genuine errors, such as a forgotten automatic withdrawal, an error in totaling your balance or other simple oversight that caused your account to overdraw. A criminal law attorney in Las Vegas may also be able to arrange for a payment plan so that you do not have to pay the entire amount at once.

Illnesses or Emergencies

Although they may not be accepted as a defense to a bad check charge, if you became seriously ill or had an emergency that resulted in the check being returned, you may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea bargain with reduced penalties. If an illness prevented you from making a timely deposit or if there was an emergency that required you to withdraw funds that ultimately caused the check to bounce, you may be able to work with the prosecutor and reduce the penalties you may receive. In some cases, the prosecutor may agree to drop charges if the illness or emergency were severe enough, especially if you work with a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney.

Bad Check Penalties

Penalties for passing a bad check in Las Vegas can be severe. If the check is less than $650, it is a misdemeanor and you may request that the record be sealed one year after the case is closed. You will need to make restitution and may face up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. Your fourth conviction of a check less than $650 or any check that is returned for more than $650 is considered a category D felony that carries penalties of one to four years in state prison and up to $5,000 in fines. You will also be required to make restitution. If the check was in payment of wages, it is a gross misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines, even if it is over $650.

If you have been charged after your bank turned over your check, contact Brian J. Smith, Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, by calling 702-380-8248, by email at or by filling out the easy form online.