Writing a check for an amount you know you don't have in your account may be tempting to get out of a tight financial spot, but it's a risky move. In Illinois, the legal consequences of check fraud can be severe if you're caught knowingly writing a bad check. In this blog post, we'll dive into whether it's illegal to write a bad check in Illinois, the penalties for doing so, and what you can do if you've been accused of writing a bad check.
Writing a Bad Check Is a Crime in Illinois
In Illinois, it's illegal to intentionally write a bad check, also known as check fraud. In legal terms, this is known as "deceptive practices," and it's considered a criminal offense. Specifically, deceptive practices occur when someone issues a check knowing that they don't have sufficient funds in their account to cover it. The goal is to obtain something of value, like goods or services, without actually paying for it.
Penalties for Writing a Bad Check
So, what happens if you're caught writing a bad check in Illinois? The penalties can vary depending on the amount of the check and whether it was a first-time offense or a repeat offense.
Generally, if the check amount is less than $150, it's considered a Class C misdemeanor. This carries a potential penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. If the check amount is between $150 and $500, it's a Class B misdemeanor with consequences of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500 as well. Writing a fraudulent check for above $500 may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the actual amount written and other circumstances.
What Should I Do If I’m Arrested for Check Fraud?
The most important thing you should do is to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. You have the right to plead not guilty and to defend yourself against the charges. In some cases, it may be possible to work out a payment plan with the alleged victim to avoid criminal charges altogether. However, this could depend on the individual case, and it's best to consult an attorney to explore all of your options.
Preventing this situation from happening is clearly the best course of action. Before writing a check, make sure you have sufficient funds in your account to cover it. Don't rely on pending deposits or other uncertain factors. Additionally, if you're struggling with financial difficulties, don't be afraid to ask for help. In fact, it's much better to be proactive in this situation than to end up facing criminal charges.
If you are arrested for writing a bad check, the Law Office of Steven Fine can help. Our experienced criminal defense attorney can offer the legal support you need to defend against your charges. With our help, you may be able to avoid a conviction or reduce the penalties you would otherwise face.
Contact us online today to get started.