Texas prosecutors have increased their focus on prosecuting online fraud and cybercrime. However, Texas residents can still get arrested for writing bad checks. When a person writes a check knowing that the amount they owe is more than the amount in their bank account, they can face criminal charges in Texas. Many people call this crime writing a “hot check.” Legally, writing a “hot check” means issuing a bad check.
When Does Writing a “Hot Check” Rise to the Level of Fraud?
Writing a check without sufficient money in the corresponding account happens to many of us. Especially during these difficult times, it can be hard to pay your rent or mortgage and all of the rest of your bills. You may be thinking that a big deposit has already hit your account, and you do not want to wait to purchase something. In these types of scenarios, people overdraw their bank accounts unintentionally. In that case, you may need to pay your bank a fee for insufficient funds, but you will not face criminal charges.
The Penalties for Check Fraud in Texas
The crime of writing a hot check is intentional. In most cases, writing a hot check is considered a misdemeanor crime in Texas. However, if the amount on the check is significant, prosecutors may choose to prosecute the crime as a felony. Now, many banks and businesses have installed surveillance cameras, and law enforcement can pinpoint the exact time a suspect tried to use a bad check. They can use this footage to prove that the check writer wrote a fraudulent check.
In Texas, those convicted of writing fraudulent checks will serve a maximum of two years in prison and pay a maximum fine of $10,000. Some defendants choose to plead guilty and receive a reduced sentence. We recommend speaking with an experienced defense lawyer before you accept a plea bargain offer from the prosecution. They may not have enough evidence to prove your case, and it may be better for you to negotiate with them or go to trial.
Other Consequences of Check Fraud
In addition to facing jail time, there are additional consequences for writing a hot check. First, you could be charged with identity theft if you write a hot check from someone else’s account without their permission. If you are accused of fraud and identity theft, you will face additional penalties. You may also have to pay fines, and you will have a criminal record after you are convicted. Your record will appear on your credit report, which will decrease your credit score. Renting an apartment or taking out a loan is more challenging with a bad credit score.
Contact a Flower Mound Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Are you facing charges for writing a hot check or any other type of fraud? If so, you need an experienced Flower Mound criminal defense lawyer. Contact Abel Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can protect your rights.