Handling a Check Fraud Charge
Check fraud, in the state of Maryland, is considered to be a serious offense. There are essentially three different levels of check fraud, and which one applies in any given situation depends on the specific value of the goods or services that were paid for with the fraudulent check. For example, a fraud charge on a value of one cent to $100 is punishable by a fine and up to 90 days in prison. This charge is a misdemeanor. Charges on goods or services valued over $100 but under $500 are punishable by a fine and up to 18 months in prison. This charge is a misdemeanor.
On the other hand, charges on any good or service totaling 500 dollars or more is considered to be a felony. The sentence for this is a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 15 years in prison. In all cases, in order for a person to be convicted of fraud, the prosecution must prove that the person charged knowingly issued the check with the intent to cancel it or otherwise invalidate it.
Being charged and convicted of felony check fraud can have especially serious implications on the rest of a person’s life. Specifically, people with felonies have limited voting rights, are stripped of their right to own firearms, typically have a hard time finding employment, and must live with the conviction on their criminal records for the rest of their lives. Even a misdemeanor charge can have serious consequences aside from the official punishments. A misdemeanor will stay on a person’s record for the rest of his or her life. Furthermore, a fraud conviction tends to make a person come off as untrustworthy and can automatically disqualify a person from a job that involves handling money.
Defense for Check Fraud
The difficult thing about a check fraud charge is that, in many cases, those charged with the crime issued the fraudulent check unintentionally. They may not have realized that the check was bad, or they may have purposely canceled the check because they were unhappy with the goods or services that they purchased. In such cases, the defense would have to prove that the fraud was not intentional or that the defendant had a right to cancel the check.
Being able to prove this, however, is not always easy. Fortunately, it is possible to hire a defense lawyer for these purposes. If you have been charged with fraud, then this is the first thing that you will want to do. Before you even think about speaking to police officers or other members of law enforcement who may be questioning you, tell them that you have no comments until you speak with a lawyer. This is your constitutional right, after all, and will prevent you from incriminating yourself which happens in the great majority of cases when speaking to the police without counsel.
Upon meeting with a lawyer, you can explain your side of the story. From there, the lawyer will be able to advise you as to what the best plan of action in your case would be. Counsel can provide a myriad of options including getting your charges reduced from a felony to misdemeanor in those cases where a full blown trial may not be in your best interest.
The key to success in any case is to retain the right lawyer for the job as early as possible. If you are facing a fraud charge, then you will want to start by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation with Robinson & Associates by giving them a call at443-524-7395 today.