How to Beat a Bad Check Charge in Michigan

Judge's gavel depicting how to beat a bad check charge

Have you ever thought there was more money in your bank account then there was? Are you facing a bad check charge?

What is a Bad Check?

A bad check is a check that cannot be negotiated because it is drawn:

  • on a an account that does not existent or
  • on an account that has insufficient funds.

The state of Michigan knows that bounced checks happen. We’ve all been there. You write your rent check, not remembering that the bank hasn’t cleared your paycheck yet. The check comes back due to insufficient funds. Are you immediately charged with a felony? No.

However, Michigan law takes bad check writing very seriously. If the intent was to defraud – knowing there was not sufficient funds, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, jail time, and fines. The penalty depends on the check amount and prior convictions.

Penalties for Writing Bad Checks in Michigan

According to Michigan Penal Code 750.131, a person is guilty of a crime if they “make, draw, utter, or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, to apply on account or otherwise, upon any bank or other depository with intent to defraud if the person does not have sufficient funds for the payment of the check, draft, or order when presentation for payment is made to the drawee.”

Michigan penalties include the following if the amount payable in the check, draft, or order is:

Less than $100.00

  • First offense: a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
  • For an offense following 1 or more prior: a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

$100.00 or more but less than $500.00

  • First or second offense: a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.
  • For an offense following 2 or more prior convictions: a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

$500.00 or more

A felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

Beating the Bad Check Charge

Depending on how the charge was acquired will dictate how you want to approach your defense.

In the case of writing a check without sufficient funds, it can be argued that you were not aware that you did not have the money and did not intend to write a bad check.

The prosecution would have to prove that beyond a reason of doubt that you knew for sure that you did not have the money.

Another way to beat a bad check charge is to work out a deal for restitution in exchange for the person or bank dropping the charges. Typically people and institutions do not want to go to court. They simply want their money back. Sometimes a payment plan or offering to pay back a percentage may work.

Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Michigan

While facing prison or a fine can feel devastating, there are ways to beat a bad check charge. It is always in your best interest to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Having an expert in the field on your team is priceless to avoid a criminal record and to avoid the consequences.

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