Issuing a Bad Check
In some cases, you may want to pay for another party by check instead of cash or debit/credit. However, it is important that when you write and give the check to the receiving party, that you do so knowing you have the funds to cover said check. By accident, a mistake can be made; however, California law addresses instances where an individual issues a check knowing full well that they do not have enough money in their account. According to California Penal Code 476a PC, it is illegal to knowingly issue a bad check.
When you issue a check to someone, that other person expects to be able to cash in the check and receive the funds. For that to happen, your account must have enough money to cover the check. However, if you write a check with the intention to commit fraud as you do not have enough money for the check, then the prosecution can prove you have committed a crime. A very important aspect of this crime is the intention and will of the perpetrator. If you have been accused of this crime the prosecution must prove that you purposely wrote or passed the check-in question. No one else must have written it or coerced you to do so. Furthermore, when you wrote that check you must have known you would defraud another party.
Committing the Crime
If the prosecution meets its burden, then you can be facing either a misdemeanor or felony conviction. While a misdemeanor can require possible jail time and a fine, a felony can land you in prison for up to three years and require you to also pay a fine. If you or someone else has been arrested and charged with this crime, it is in your best interest to be represented by an attorney. The attorney can help you understand your rights as well as present an appropriate defense.