Defendant and Lawyer in front of judgeThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing how to defend against bad check charges in Peoria, Illinois. My previous post discussed the option of having one’s criminal record expunged or sealed after being charged with passing a bad check, a violation of Illinois’ deceptive practices statute. Given the benefits of doing so, eligible individuals are encouraged to speak with an attorney to begin the process as soon as possible. In this article, I will explain why it is important to respond quickly if you have been notified of a potential bad check violation. If you are facing such charges and need assistance, contact my office to speak with an attorney.

When an individual receives notice that they have violated Illinois’ bad check law, it is imperative to act quickly in response for a variety of reasons. Many residents facing such charges have the opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution altogether by complying with the requirements of a Check Enforcement Program. Generally speaking, first-time offenders with less serious offenses are diverted to such a program in exchange for their agreement to repay the victim and complete certain educational requirements. Those who fail to respond in a timely manner after receiving notification from a Check Enforcement Program are referred back to the state for prosecutorial review. This means that a missed deadline could result in a criminal conviction that could have been avoided entirely.

Individuals who are not diverted to a Check Enforcement Program must also respond quickly if they are charged with deceptive practices related to passing bad checks. Once formally charged, the prosecution may issue a warrant for one’s arrest. An outstanding warrant can lead to the suspension of one’s driver’s license, inability to board an airplane, and being taken into custody when least expected. Furthermore, a criminal conviction may result in a permanent criminal record, fines, court costs, and possible incarceration. The long-term collateral damage of a criminal record, such as the inability to find or keep employment, obtain professional licensing, background check issues, etc. can be devastating. It is imperative in such circumstances to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to assist you with your case. Your lawyer can contact the prosecuting attorney immediately, explain any extenuating circumstances or defenses, and discuss any potential plea agreements, restitution opportunities, and reduction or dismissal of charges.

In light of the possible consequences of a conviction, I cannot overstate the importance of retaining counsel to assist you in such matters. I have extensive experience defending Peoria residents who have been charged with deceptive practices and other financial crimes. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. 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. Additional areas where we handle federal cases include Benton, Chicago, East St. Louis, Springfield, and Urbana.