Check fraud refers to different types of crimes that involve the common feature of fraudulently employing a check to get money or something of value. If you think you are being investigated for check fraud, you should find a reliable Stafford County check fraud lawyer. Contact a knowledgeable attorney to begin building a defense case.
The most common charges associated with check fraud are forgery and uttering. Forgery is the creation of a fake check or the forging of a signature on an authentic check. Uttering is taking a document such as a check which the person knows to be counterfeit and attempting to transact it or employ it as a true document.
When someone writes a bad check, fakes the check, or fakes the signature, they are charged with these crimes. In fact, it is unusual to see one charge and not the other because one involves the creation of the false document and the other charge is the attempt to employ or transact it as an authentic document.
Check fraud in Virginia is a felony in most cases. There is a low threshold for a dollar amount for crossing into felony territory. In many cases, Class 6 misdemeanors which can carry up to five years in prison, 12-month jail sentences, and a $2,500 fine. If someone is convicted of a check fraud charge, the penalty is affected by their prior record and the dollar amount involved. Upon conviction, the penalty is at the discretion of a judge.
Someone may find out they are being investigated for check fraud when they are contacted by a loss prevention officer at a bank or other retail location where a check was presented, or the police contacts them. If someone is questioned about the check transaction, the person has the right to decline. The Fifth Amendment provides the right to remain silent.
Any statements a person makes to the police or anyone else can be used as evidence against them in court. This is true even when a person is innocent. Any inconsistencies in past, present, or future statements can be used as evidence that someone is not consistent.
When a person meets with their Stafford County check fraud lawyer for the first time, they should bring all the papers the police or the magistrate gave them. The attorney can review the charges and the information contained in the documents.
It is important to be ready to talk about what happened, who the person has talked to, and whether they made any statements to the police. If there is documentary evidence such as checks, bank statements, or other documents that would shed light on a case, the person should bring those to their first meeting with the attorney.
You should speak with a check fraud defense lawyer in Stafford County early if you are charged with check fraud. An attorney can advise you of common mistakes to avoid and there are proactive steps the person can take. The lawyer can advise a person to not speak with anyone about the issue, including the police. An attorney can review the case in the early phase to identify the direction of the investigation. Your lawyer might conduct their own investigation or proactively do mitigation work. They can have their client perform community service or take an education class related to fraud.
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