There are several situations where a person may find themselves being charged with check fraud in Wisconsin.
Check fraud charges can come when a person has written a check off an account that is closed or does not have enough money to cover the amount on the check. They might also be charged if it is believed that they have printed and used false checks, or have stolen another person's checks and then impersonated someone else in order to use their account to make unauthorized purchases.
Getting arrested for anything can be frightening, regardless of the circumstances, but it is important to react appropriately if you are charged in order to lay the best possible foundation for your check fraud defense.
If you are caught writing bad checks, consequences may range from being required to pay for the checks plus additional bank fees to being charged with forgery and/or theft and acquiring a new Class A misdemeanor or Class H felony on your record. If this happens, fines could climb to up to $10,000 and you might face several months to a few years in jail if convicted.
Staying Quiet, and Knowing Your Rights
In any arrest, one of the key rights is that the arrested person does not have to say anything, as any statements might potentially incriminate them.
There are also procedures that law enforcement officers are required to follow before they can make an arrest. They need to have a warrant to search a person's property, and have probable cause in order to make an arrest.
If an officer comes to your home, business, or approaches your vehicle asking to search, you can refuse to allow the search unless they have a warrant. If they search anyway, they will need to prove probable cause. If they don't have it, any evidence they discover may be inadmissible.
Remember the Details
Besides not incriminating yourself, there are other advantages to remaining silent. You can potentially be better in tune to the details of the arrest or your interaction with the police.
If you are searched without probable cause, or the police violate your rights at any point, their missteps might potentially strengthen your case.
Determine Charges or Potential Charges
If the arrest goes through, insist on contacting your lawyer as soon as possible. If the police leave without arresting you, but you remain a suspect or person of interest in their investigation, it is still helpful to talk to a lawyer who has experience with check fraud in Wisconsin and who can help you determine exactly what kind of challenge you are up against.
Explain Your Side
If you are facing check fraud charges, you may or may not be at fault. Someone else may have taken checks from your checkbook. You might have been charged excessive fees by your bank leading to a smaller than intended balance. You may have been promised payment that should have covered a check you wrote. It's also possible that someone is attempting to set you up.
Whatever the story is, it is important to be straightforward with your attorney in order to have the appropriate plea ready and to advocate on your behalf. For criminal charges to stick, it is not enough to prove that the check was "bad." Prosecutors also need to show that the person presenting the check was being intentionally dishonest and fraudulent in their actions.
Stangl Law Offices in Madison, Wisconsin are experienced in dealing with check fraud cases and helping those accused of similar white collar crimes. Contact us to learn how we can present you with a quality defense and increase your chances of a satisfactory outcome to your case.