Your suitcase is practically bursting at the zipper as you continue to stuff beach clothes into your bag.
Sunglasses — Check!
Flip Flops — Check!
Hotel Booking — Check!
It’s a three-day weekend and you’re going to make the most of every minute of it as you head for the ocean with your friends. Before you leave, you hastily scan the room double-checking for any missed items. With one quick glance back, you slam your apartment door and run out to your car, yet you can’t shrug the feeling that you’re forgetting something…
Aha! Twenty minutes down the road and your gut feeling has revealed itself. You forgot to pay rent! You pop a fast U-turn and speed back to your apartment. You throw your door open, sloppily fill out a check, and turn it in right before the office closes. You breathe a sigh of relief as you jump back in your car—ocean here you come!
Writing a Check With a Closed Account
The weekend unfolded perfectly. You swam in the warm ocean, chatted with your friends along the beach, and created a ton of new memories. On the last night of your vacation, you decide to relax in the hotel’s hot tub. As your mind wanders from work to friends to finances, you think about the checking account you recently closed…
Wait a second—you wrote the rent check with your closed account’s information… Does this mean you’re in serious trouble?
Am I a Felon?
In the state of Indiana, it is illegal to knowingly pass a check linked to a closed account, one with insufficient funds, or one that doesn’t exist. These acts are considered check deception, and they can be met with serious punishments like hefty fines and jail time. To help defend your case, a criminal defense attorney in Lafayette, Indiana should be used.
What Are the Punishments of Writing a Bad Check in Indiana?
Depending upon the dollar amount of the check, different felonies, misdemeanors, and fines can be given.
A misdemeanor is a criminal act that is considered less serious than a felony, yet it can still deliver serious consequences like stiff penalties and jail time.
- A Class A misdemeanor is typically given if the value of the bad check was under $2,500.
- A Class A misdemeanor can carry a punishment of one year in jail and a fine of upwards of $5,000.
A felony is considered a serious crime that normally involves heavy jail time and expensive fines.
- A Class D felony is typically given if the amount of the check was over $2,500 or involved the transaction of expensive property, like an automobile.
- The punishments for a Class D felony can include up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
It’s important to note that some counties have lower thresholds for what they consider felonies. For instance, a bad check written for the amount of $2,500 or more typically receives a Class D felony, yet in Tippecanoe county, the amount of $500 can be tried as a felony.
In Indiana, the receiver of a bad check can sue the offender for civil damages. An offender can be sued for up to three times the amount of the check, as well as attorney fees.
That’s It, I’m Going to Jail, Right?
Not necessarily! No person or credit institution is perfect—mistakes can be made! Common, forgivable check mistakes can include:
- A credit institution made unknown changes to your account.
- You did not know the check would not be honored.
- You included a note and created a temporary credit extension.
Can I Avoid a Misdemeanor or Felony?
So you wrote a bad check… You still have a chance to avoid punishment!
In Indiana, a person has ten days to pay back their debt in full after they have received notice that their check was not honored. In addition to paying back the total amount, they may be subject to pay any protest fees or service charges.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Lafayette, Indiana
If you have been accused of writing a bad check in Lafayette, Indiana, a criminal defense attorney should be contacted immediately. With over a decade of experience with criminal defense, Bryan Coulter is ready to help you. Schedule a free consultation with Bryan and learn more about how Coulter Law Office can help you.