Person writing a checkThis is the first post in a series of articles in which I will discuss how to defend against bad check charges in Peoria, Illinois. Under Illinois law, it is a serious crime to issue a check to a third party for payment with the knowledge that there are insufficient funds in the bank to cover the check. Issuing a bad check is considered a “deceptive practice” that could result in prosecution. Depending upon the circumstances, a bad check charge could result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction requiring the payment of fines, court costs, or possible imprisonment. It is important to respond to such charges appropriately and defend oneself to avoid serious long-term consequences. If you need assistance with a bad check charge, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.

This series will address the following topics:

  • What does it mean to “issue a bad check” under 720 ILCS 5/17-1(B)
  • Defenses available to those who have issued a bad check
  • Resolving a bad check charge through the Check Enforcement Program
  • Sealing or expunging one’s arrest record after resolving the case
  • Why it is important to deal with a bad check charge quickly

I felt it was important to write about these issues for several reasons. First, when individuals face tough economic times, they may believe it is harmless to “float” a check to cover bills which they cannot currently pay. This is not the case and could open residents to criminal liability. Second, individuals may not realize that there are defenses against bad check charges. It is important to consult with an attorney to understand your options. Third, Illinois’ law establishes a Check Enforcement Program which allows a victim to receive restitution from the check writer while also giving the check writer an opportunity to avoid prosecution. Failing to comply with the program requirements, however, could have significant legal consequences. Fourth, if you have been arrested or face criminal prosecution for bouncing bad checks, it may be possible to expunge or seal your criminal record after the matter has been resolved. The benefits of doing so may include preventing the information from being identified on background checks for employment, housing, etc. Finally, it is imperative to respond quickly and appropriately to any accusations of issuing bad checks. By not taking such matters seriously, one may find themselves subject to outstanding arrest warrants and prosecution, even for seemingly minor infractions.

As a former prosecutor, I understand that the State’s Attorney considers bad check offenses to be serious crimes and will not hesitate to prosecute such matters. If you are facing deceptive practice charges related to bouncing checks, contact my office today to speak to a Peoria attorney. We also serve clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington and the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Areas where we handle federal cases include Peoria, Springfield, Champaign, Rock Island.