This is the next post in a series of articles discussing defending against bad check charges in Peoria, Illinois. My previous article discussed Illinois’ bad check law and provided information about what constitutes passing a back check in our state. Issuing a check or other order for payment of funds with the knowledge that there are insufficient funds in one’s account is a criminal offense. Convictions may result in felony or misdemeanor charges depending upon the specific circumstances. In both cases, serious criminal and civil penalties may apply. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney to understand your rights and obligations. In this article, I will address how one may defend themselves against bad check charges. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
It is possible to defend oneself against bad check charges under certain circumstances. First, Illinois law requires the writer to have knowledge that there are insufficient funds to cover the amount of the check or order at the time it is issued for payment. If the issuer legitimately believed that funds were available and the lack of sufficient funds was based on a mistake or error at the financial institution, it may be possible to assert a lack of the necessary knowledge. Second, if the recipient of the check was informed of and consented to accept a check unsupported by sufficient funds, such as a post-dated check, but cashed it anyway, this may be a valid defense to bad check charges. For instance, if the issuer asks a contractor if they will accept payment by check for services on a Monday but the contractor agrees not to cash the check until the issuer is paid on Friday, the issuer may defend themselves on such grounds. Another common defense arises when a recipient holds a check for longer than 180 days and not enough funds exist at the time they present it to the bank. For obvious reasons, an issuer may have lost track of the check or been unaware that the amount may be drawn from their account after such a long period.
As with other legal proceedings, a defendant facing bad check charges will be required to present such defenses to the prosecution. This will include proving the facts in support of the defense. For example, if the defendant claims that the lack of payment was due to an unknown clerical error on the part of their financial institution, they will need to provide objective evidence in support of the claim such as bank statements and records of communications with their banker. If the accused claims that the recipient agreed not to cash their check until a later date, they may present telephone, email, or text message records to prove that this was the case. Failure to raise the available defenses or present the necessary evidence may result in a conviction. It is imperative, therefore, to contact a lawyer with experience in such matters to help you identify and present your defenses and all relevant evidence on your behalf.
My office has experience representing clients charged with passing bad checks. I understand the seriousness of such accusations and am committed to vigorously defending clients against such charges. If you need assistance, contact my office to speak with 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.