There are many different charges used to prosecute acts of fraud in California. One of the more common charges is California Penal Code Section 476: Check Fraud. Make sure you understand this prevalent criminal charge by reviewing:
- The Legal Definition of Check Fraud
- The Results of a Check Fraud Conviction
- The Legal Defenses for Check Fraud Accusations
The Simmrin Law Group can even help you go over criminal charges that are similar to check fraud with this article.
Check Fraud: California’s Legal Definition
- Making, Publishing, Uttering, Passing OR
- Intending to Make, Publish, Utter, or Pass
- Altered or Fictitious Bills, Notes, or Checks
Individuals should only be convicted of check fraud if they knew they were utilizing an altered or fictitious check, note, or bill. Additionally, individuals charged with check fraud must intend to defraud another person to be convicted.
Check Fraud: Similar Criminal Charges
There are many different charges used to prosecute acts of fraud in California. Depending upon the situation, individuals could face charges for:
Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all the fraud charges that can be used in California. You can get more information about these charges from a white-collar crimes lawyer in Los Angeles.
Check Fraud: Examples in California
Man A goes to a used car dealership to purchase a vehicle. He brings along a forged check and attempts to use it for the down payment on the vehicle. The dealership realizes what is happening and calls the police. Man A could be charged with check fraud.
Man B gets a holiday bonus check from his employer. However, he feels that he is owed more than is offered by the check, so he adds a zero onto the end and increases the payment amount. His alterations are noticed when he goes to cash the check. He could be convicted under PC 476.
Check Fraud: The Results of a Conviction
The penalties for check fraud in California depend upon the exact charge an individual is facing. Individuals in California can be charged with:
Misdemeanor Check Fraud
Misdemeanor check fraud is considered less severe than felony check fraud. Generally, individuals will always face a misdemeanor charge if they forged a check from under $950. The results of a misdemeanor conviction can include:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
Felony Check Fraud
The results of a felony check fraud conviction are harsher than those used to prosecute misdemeanor level offenses. Individuals who commit check fraud for more than $950 could end up facing the following felony penalties:
- Fines of Up to $10,000
- Jail Time of Up to Three Years
Check Fraud: Common Legal Defenses in California
You can get help building a defense to check fraud charges in California by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you handle misdemeanor or felony charges. Let us focus on your legal options. We may be able to construct your case by showing:
You Thought You Were Passing a Legitimate Check
You could find yourself in possession of an altered or fictitious check without realizing it in California. If you had good reason to believe you were using a good check, you could avoid being convicted on PC 476 charges.
You Were Forced to Engage in Check Fraud
Sometimes, individuals try to force others to commit check fraud for them. You could be able to build a legal defense if you engaged in check fraud due to threats to your life or physical well-being. Let a criminal defense lawyer go over your options if you are in this situation.
You Acted Without Intending to Defraud Anyone
As we mentioned, you must intend to commit fraud to be convicted of check fraud. If you filled out a check with fraudulent information as part of a joke, never intending to convince another person that it was legitimate, you could avoid a PC 476 conviction.
Get Assistance Handling Check Fraud Accusations in California
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you if you are accused of violating California Penal Code Section 476: Check Fraud. Start getting the professional advice you need today from the Simmrin Law Group. You can reach out to us right now for a FREE initial case evaluation.
Call us at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form to start building your defense.