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What is a felony check charge?
Date: 2010-05-27    Source:
Writing a bad check is a crime in all 50 states. A felony is defined in most states as a crime that is punishable by more than one year in jail. In other words, a serious crime. In all 50 states, a bad check can be a felony under certain conditions.
The amount of the bad check often determines whether the case will be charged as a felony or as a less serious misdemeanor or petty offense. The felony threshold varies from as low as $50.00 to as much as $500.00. The average is $100.00--a bad check doesn't have to be too large to be a felony.
Often, the intent of the check writer helps determine how the case will be charged. If the check comes back NSF (not sufficient funds) due to an innocent error on the part of the writer, the case will probably not be a felony. However, if circumstances indicate that the check writer intended to defraud the receiver (for example, the check was written on a closed account), a felony charge is likely.
Identity of the Victim
In many states, the identity of the victim could be a factor in whether the bad check is a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, bouncing a check to an elderly or handicapped victim can often result in felony charges. Similarly, writing a bad check to any government organization is also commonly a felony.
Criminal Background
If the writer of a bad check has little or no criminal history, or criminal history not related to fraud or theft, he may avoid a felony charge. However, if he has a history of writing rubber checks, plan on defending a felony case.
Is There a Civil Case?
Often, if the recipient of a bad check has already instituted civil proceedings to collect on the debt, prosecutors may opt not to file criminal charges. If charges are proffered under these circumstances, however, those charges could still be a felony. Remember that prosecutors have great discretion in charging offenses, and in most bad check cases, have the option to file either misdemeanor or felony charges.