Hard financial times can push people to engage in practices that might not be in their best interest. At other times, a simple mistake can lead a person to commit a crime without actual knowledge of their actions. This is the case for many people who face criminal charges for depositing or passing a fake or bad check in Utah. Facing criminal charges for this type of criminal offense can lead to severe consequences depending on your particular situation. Will you go to jail for depositing or passing a fake check in Utah? Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson explains.
Is Depositing a Fake Check in Utah a Serious Crime?
Depositing a fake check – also known as passing a bad check – is a serious offense that can lead to devastating consequences. According to Utah Code § 76-6-505, it is a crime punishable with jail time, prison time, and hefty criminal fines. A person commits the offense of passing a bad check if they pass or draft a check with the purpose of obtaining a monetary benefit. The statute also refers to any money, property of value, services, wages, or salaries – among other benefits – that can be obtained in exchange for a bad check.
This type of criminal charge can be challenging to handle. Typically, Utah law provides you with a limited time to receive notice that your check did not come through – which is commonly referred to as bouncing. At this point, you must correct the issue and pay whatever amount was supposed to be on the check to the payee.
You can only be convicted of depositing a fake check in Utah if you knew the check was bad in the first place and deposited it anyway. While you may think the prosecution can have a hard time proving you knew about potential fraud, the law, in this case, may work against you. For this reason, it is essential to retain a skilled Utah criminal defense attorney.
What Are the Penalties for Depositing a Fake Check in Utah?
Utah divides crimes into misdemeanors and felonies. Each of these criminal offenses has a set of penalties that kick in depending on each particular case. Typically, misdemeanors carry less serious consequences, while felonies represent the most severe types of penalties. Misdemeanors are classified as classes A, B, and C, while penalties are classified as first, second, and third-degree felonies. The lower the letter or degree, the more severe the potential penalties for a conviction.
Depositing, issuing, or drafting a bad or fake check in Utah can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on your particular case. Typically, your charges can be more severe, depending on the amount of money reflected on the bad check.
For example, if you deposited a fake check with a sum of less than $500 within a period not exceeding six months, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this particular offense, you can spend up to six months in jail and face up to $1,000 in fines.
However, your charges can be upped to a more serious crime if, within a time period not exceeding six months, you deposit a fake check with a sum of $500 or more, but less than $1,500. In this case, you may face Class A misdemeanor charges – the more serious type of misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Your criminal charges can be elevated to a felony if, within a period not exceeding six months, you deposit a fake check with a sum of $1,500 or more but less than $5,000. This constitutes a third-degree felony offense punishable by five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. If you deposit a bad check within a period not exceeding six months with a sum of $5,000 or more, you can face second-degree felony charges, leading to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Can I Defend Against Charges for Depositing a Fake Check in Utah?
As we previously discussed, charges for depositing a fake check in Utah can lead to severe consequences. However, the fact that you deposited a check that bounced back doesn’t automatically make you guilty. First, it is essential to understand that you are innocent until proven guilty in our criminal justice system. Therefore, the prosecution in your case has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime for which you are being accused.
In order to get a conviction in your case, the prosecution must prove you knew the check was fake, and you had the intention of obtaining a benefit by depositing it. If the prosecutor cannot prove this critical element, you should not be convicted. The law also provides you with a 14-day grace period to respond to an alleged bounced check. During this time, you have an opportunity to solve your situation. While the law presumes you know or should know whether your check is fake or not, you still have the right to fight against your charges and provide evidence of your innocence.
You can achieve this by retaining a competent, skilled, and experienced Utah criminal defense attorney. It is always in your best interest to let your lawyer handle your case and refrain from handling your case on your own.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations for Fake Check Cases
If you or someone you know was charged with depositing a fake check in Utah, we can help. Our Salt Lake City, UT criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson can help defend you against your criminal charges. Thanks to our experience and skill, we can provide you with the quality criminal defense services you deserve. Please do not wait another second, and call our law offices today. To schedule your free, confidential consultation, call Overson & Bugden, at (801) 758-2287.