Under South Carolina law, it is a crime to pass a bad check. See S. Car. Code §§ 34-11-60 and 34-11-70. In general, passing a bad check or checking fraud exists where you make or deliver a check for value, with the intent to defraud, knowing that there are insufficient funds in the bank. If you are charged with checking fraud, you should immediately call experienced and skilled criminal defense attorneys like those at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Checking fraud is difficult to prove and there are many defenses that your trusted criminal defense lawyer can present to the court. Here is a quick rundown.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: No Intent Or Mistaken Belief
Note that criminal checking fraud requires that you knowing pass a bad check with knowledge that there are insufficient funds in your account for the check to clear. Various facts can be shown to defend against the the intent and the “knowing” element such as:
- Sufficient funds in the account prior to writing the check;
- Mistake in writing more than one check against the same funds;
- Later deposit into the account of sufficient funds; and
A sufficient defense to the charge can be mounted if any of the foregoing can be shown.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: Make Restitution Before Trial Date Is Set
However, if there are sufficient funds, the best defense to a charge of checking fraud is to quickly make restitution and pay the small fee required by § 34-11-79(c). That section states:
“(c) Any court, including magistrates, may dismiss any prosecution initiated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter on satisfactory proof of restitution and payment by the defendant of all administrative costs accruing not to exceed forty-one dollars submitted before the date set for trial after the issuance of a warrant.”
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: Person Receiving Check Knows There Are Insufficient Funds
Another defense is where it can be shown that the person receiving the check — the payee — knows or has reason to know that there are insufficient funds to cover the check. Examples here would be where the writer of the check states that there are insufficient funds and asks the payee to “hold the check” for a certain amount of time. A post-dated check probably also satisfies this rule.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: Beyond Time Limitations
To be actionable as a crime, two time elements must be satisfied: (i) the check must be deposited into an account of the payee within 10 days and (ii) the check cannot be older than 180 days. If either condition fails, the charges should be dismissed.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: No Notice Has Been Given
Section 34-11-70(a)(1) provides that a financial institution should send a notice to the maker of the NSF check giving them ten (10) day to make good on the check. The law requires a specific format and a certain type of notice. If you fail to make good on the check after receipt of the notice, then that is good and powerful evidence that you INTENDED to commit fraud. This means that one possible defense to a charge of checking fraud is the failure of the bank or financial institution to send the required notice.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense Attorneys: Call David R. Price, Jr., P.A.
If you have been charged with checking fraud, call the proven and dedicated Greenville SC criminal defense lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Contact our office today via email or by calling. We can help prevent a conviction from being entered on your record. According to case law, checking fraud is a crime of moral turpitude. As such, it can be used for impeachment purposes if you are ever charged and tried for another crime. Moral turpitude crimes can also significantly hinder your ability to obtain certain types of employment, so avoiding a conviction is important.