Check forgery is a type of fraud and can carry some harsh penalties as a result. If you are charged with this crime you could be forced to pay hefty fines or even end up serving jail time. If you believe that you have been charged with check forgery in error, you need to fight back. A Mercer County criminal defense lawyer can help you.
What Kind of Offense is Check Forgery?
A check forgery charge can be a disorderly persons charge, but it can also be a second-degree felony. It all depends on how much the value of the bad check was. These are the general sentencing guidelines in New Jersey:
- Check valued under $200: This is a disorderly persons charge with a fine of up to $1,000. You could also go to jail for up to six months.
- $200-$1,000: This is when check forgery becomes a felony, a fourth-degree felony to be specific. It’s punishable by up to 18 months in jail and $10,000 in fines.
- $1,000-$75,000: This amount of fraud can land you in prison for three to five years with a third-degree felony charge. You can also be fined up to $15,000.
- More than $75,000: This is a second-degree felony that can carry a five- to 10-year jail sentence and fines of up to $150,000.
This charge can also come up on a background check, meaning that it is sure to affect you personally and professionally. Finding a way to beat this charge needs to be your top priority.
How Can I Defend Against This Charge?
There are a few ways that you can defend yourself from a check forgery charge. A defense attorney can look at the specific circumstances of your case and come up with the best possible defense for you. They can push back on this charge by saying::
- The check did not have the proper signatures on it
- The check was cashed long after it was issued, like 30 days or more later
- You never received notice that the check bounced
- Both the check issuer and the receiver knew the check was post-dated, but it was cashed earlier anyway
- You are a caregiver for an elderly person and there was some kind of misunderstanding
Any of these defenses can help show that you were not purposefully trying to pass off a bad check or defraud anyone. Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor here. They need to show that you knew that the check was bad and that you knew this before you handed it off to someone else.
Contact an Experienced Defense Attorney
If you are ready to fight a check forgery charge, you do not have to go it alone. Contact the Law Office of Douglas Herring and learn more about how we can help you form an affirmative defense against these allegations.