The official term for passing a bad check in Georgia is deposit account fraud. If convicted of this offense, you and your family could face significant hardships.
Some people commit deposit account fraud to fund their unhealthy lifestyles (drug and alcohol abuse, etc.), but most violations occur due to financial struggles. For example, you get laid off from your job and must write a bad check to feed your children. Unfortunately, the need for immediate access to funds does not mean the authorities will ignore your offense.
Does the amount of the check matter?
Yes, it does. If the fraudulent check is only for a small amount, the possible penalties will be relatively minimal. On the other hand, passing a fraudulent check in a high-dollar amount will lead to more serious penalties.
Say you passed a bad check of less than $500. If convicted, you could face a $500 fine or a prison sentence of no more than 12 months. In some cases, check fraud defendants may face imprisonment and a fine.
Now, say you passed a check of more than $500 but less than $1,000. Upon conviction, a Georgia court may sentence you to a year in prison, a fine approaching $1,000 or some combination of both penalties.
As you probably imagine, the higher the check amount, the more legal hardships you can expect. If the check exceeds $1,500, it is a felony offense punishable by fines up to $5,000 or a prison sentence of three years (or both).
Protect yourself from conviction by exploring the defense options at your disposal. Learning more about deposit account fraud or writing bad checks may also help you as you determine your best defense strategy.