Union County NJ Criminal Lawyers

Bad Checks

‘Issuing a Bad Check’ Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5

The New Jersey Bad Check Law is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5. This provision provides, in relevant part, that:

A person who issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, commits an offense as provided for in subsection c. of this section. For the purposes of this section as well as in any prosecution for theft committed by means of a bad check, an issuer is presumed to know that the check or money order (other than a post-dated check or order) would not be paid, if:

a. The issuer had no account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued; or
b. Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, or due to a closed account, after a deposit by the payee into a bank for collection or after presentation to the drawee within 46 days after issue, and the issuer failed to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal or after notice has been sent to the issuer’s last known address. Notice of refusal may be given to the issuer orally or in writing in any reasonable manner by any person.

For the state to obtain a conviction for Bad Checks under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5, two elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That defendant knowingly issued [or passed] a check [or sight order] for the payment of money and
  2. That defendant knew at the time he/she issued [or passed] the check [or sight order] that it would not be honored by the drawee.

Often, our firm is able to defend ‘bad check’ charges by defeating the state’s proof of knowledge that the payment or check would be bad. It is important for any Bad Check case to get an experienced attorney involved as soon as possible, to maximize any chance of a successful plea deal or dismissal.

Various Degrees of a Bad Check Offense and Amount in Controversy

The grading or severity of a bad check offense hinges on the amount to which the check was written. In this regard, the degree of crime and monetary thresholds for the writing of a bad check are as follows:

  • $75,000 or more is a second degree crime. A second degree bad check offense is punishable by 5-10 years in jail.
  • $1,000 to $75,000 is a third degree crime.  A third degree carries a sentence of up to 5 years in jail.
  • $200 to $1,000 is a fourth degree crime. A fourth degree offense could involve up to 18 months in jail.
  • $1 to $200 is a disorderly persons offense.  The maximum jail on a disorderly persons offense for writing a bad check is 6 months.

Union Township Bad Check Defense Attorneys

Individuals arrested and/or charged with a bad check should consider hiring an attorney immediately as much of the damage associated with these Union County offenses can be minimized through proactive efforts of an experienced attorney. We can frequently succeed in obtaining a downgrade and, in some cases, even a dismissal, of a bad check charge if we are retained early.

We are ready to assist you. We have seven full-time dedicated criminal defense attorneys, three of whom have at least 15 years experience handling criminal cases.  Three of the lawyers are also former prosecutors who put their experience to work in every Union County case they handle.  The collective knowledge and skill of our legal team is second to none in Union County, in our estimation. An attorney is available now to answer your questions at 1-800-289-7138.

Contact Information

(908) 272-1700
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