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Las Vegas Bad Check & Casino Marker Attorney

Need To Discuss Your Bad Check Or Casino Marker Case? give attorney jennifer ferris a call at (702) 710-8882 today or contact us online!

In Nevada, it is a crime to provide payment in check form when you know that there aren’t sufficient funds in your account to cover the charge. It is also a crime to obtain funds from a casino and then fail to make good on your promise to pay the value of the marker back. Depending on the value of the check or casino marker, you can be arrested and charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. When the offense involves a check, the offense is commonly referred to as passing a bad check and abbreviated as NSF. When the offense involves a line of credit with a casino, it is generally referred to as a casino marker.

People who pass bad checks are also oftentimes charged with the associated crimes of burglary, grand larceny, or theft. Please see our pages on each of those charges for more information.

Sometimes a person will first be made aware of the problem when they receive communication from the Bad Check Unit of the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. The letter will give information related to the bad check or casino marker itself and will also state that the person must contact the Bad Check Unit before a certain date if they want to avoid being charged criminally.

In such instances, it is imperative to get a criminal defense attorney involved so that the matter can be handled as quickly as possible. Doing so can oftentimes avoid having any criminal charges filed, which means you don’t have to worry about being arrested, jailed, fined, or convicted. In essence, you are able to move on with your life as painlessly as possible. When you involve an attorney at this stage this is generally referred to as pre-charge representation because there is no criminal case pending yet and the goal here is to ensure that no criminal charges are ever filed.

In other instances a person will first become aware of the issue when they come into contact with law enforcement for an unrelated reason such as a routine traffic stop and are told that they have an active warrant in the system for their arrest, otherwise referred to as an arrest warrant. Other people find out about the issue when they apply for a new job and the case shows up on their background check.

When a case is at this stage there is already a criminal case pending and there is also going to be an outstanding arrest warrant that commands authorities to find the person and bring them fore the judge who issued the arrest warrant. Police do not notify people when they file for arrest warrants and the court does not notify people when they issue arrest warrants, so people can sometimes go years without ever being aware that they have an active arrest warrant.

These cases often arise out of an arrest warrant because the merchant or individual who accepted the bad check didn’t know immediately when they received the check that there weren’t sufficient funds in the drafter’s account to cover the amount of the check. Instead, they find out after they try to deposit the check and receive information from their bank that the check did not clear, so it was only days, weeks or months later that they then reported the matter to the police. In these situations, the police have to conduct and conclude their investigation and then submit a summarization of their findings to a judge by way of a written affidavit. At the end of the affidavit the police will request that an arrest warrant be issued. The judge then reviews the information provided by the police and grants their request for an arrest warrant assuming there was probable cause to issue it.

Once a warrant has been issued it must be satisfied, which requires a person to either be arrested, self-surrender to law enforcement, or get placed on calendar to go before the judge. We never recommend that people wait until they are arrested or that they self-surrender. It is always to a person’s benefit to come before the judge of their own volition while out of custody because it shows the judge that you are not running from the charge and that you are being responsible. In order to do that, however, you need to get a criminal defense attorney involved who can then draft a motion wherein they can request that bail be lowered or eliminated entirely depending on the circumstances. Such motions are often granted in whole or in part so long as they have the necessary information and support for the request.

If you or a loved one have been contacted by the Bad Check Unit or you have already been charged for passing a check without sufficient funds in your bank account, then read below to learn more about the offense and how hiring a criminal defense attorney can be to your benefit.

BAD CHECKS AND CASINO MARKERS DEFINED

NRS 205.130 states that a person is guilty of the offense if he “willfully, with an intent to defraud, draws or passes a check to obtain money, delivery of other valuable property, services, the use of property, or credit extended by any licensed gaming establishment when the person has insufficient money… to pay [the check] in full upon its presentation.”

In order to convict a person of this offense, the prosecutor must show that the person had an “intent to defraud” at the time the check was presented. Simply put, intent to defraud means that the person knew that there weren’t sufficient funds in their account when they presented the check as payment. If the person had no idea that they had insufficient funds, then they couldn’t possibly be said to have had an intent to defraud.

That being said, NRS 205.132 provides that “intent to defraud and knowledge of insufficiency” is presumed in these certain instances: (1) when the check is drawn on an account that doesn’t actually exist; (2) when the person passing the check is notified by their bank that their check bounced and does not fix the problem within 5 business days by paying the full amount of the check plus any handling charges; or (3) notice to the check writer that is sent by certified or registered to the address listed on the check is returned as non-deliverable.

PUNISHMENTS FOR WRITING BAD CHECKS OR FAILING TO REPAY CASINO MARKERS

Prosecutors look to the value of the check when determining whether to charge a person with a misdemeanor or a felony. The threshold amount was increased from $650 to $1200 in July of 2020. Please read below for the particulars.

FOR ANY CASES FILED BEFORE JULY 2020, THE FOLLOWING THRESHOLDS AND PUNISHMENTS APPLY:

Check or Casino Marker Value is Less than $650 – Misdemeanor: Punishable by a maximum of 6 months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine plus administrative assessments.

Check or Casino Marker Value is $650 or More - Category D Felony: Punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. This is a probationable felony, which means that even if a person is convicted of this felony, their sentencing judge has the discretion to suspend the prison sentence and place the person on a period of probation up to 24 months.

Please note that a person also faces felony insufficient funds prosecution if he passes, within a 90-day period, any series of checks totaling $650 or more in the State of Nevada.

FOR ANY CASES FILED AFTER JULY 2020, THE FOLLOWING THRESHOLDS AND PUNISHMENTS APPLY:

Check or Casino Marker Value is Less than $1,200 – Misdemeanor: Punishable by a maximum of 6 months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine plus administrative assessments. The Court can also order the person to repay the value of the check, which is referred to as restitution.

Check or Casino Marker Value is $1,200 or More - Category D Felony: Punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. This is a probationable felony, which means that even if a person is convicted of this felony, their sentencing judge has the discretion to suspend the prison sentence and place the person on a period of probation up to 24 months.

Please note that a person also faces felony insufficient funds prosecution if he passes, within a 90-day period, any series of checks totaling $1200 or more in the State of Nevada.

Restitution is mandatory in all bad check and casino marker cases. This means that the Court must order as part of the person’s sentence that the value of the bounced check or casino marker be paid back to the victim.

We fully understand that even being charged with a misdemeanor can be scary, let alone being charged with a felony. Furthermore, sustaining felony convictions can have lifelong consequences, which is why it is so important to get an attorney involved. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you avoid these consequences in many instances. Read below to find out how.

DEFENDING BAD CHECK AND CASINO MARKER CASES

As stated above, the prosecutor must prove certain elements of the charge in order to convict a person, specifically that the person had an intent to defraud. Oftentimes defenses to this charge center around a lack of intent. In other instances, there are questions about whether the person charged with the offense is indeed the person who drafted the check or took out the casino marker. Identity theft is a major problem in our society generally and these types of cases are no exception. In such instances, the defense will hinge on issues such as handwriting analysis, video surveillance, and other items of evidence that establish a person’s alibi.

Even in instances where there is no great defense to work with, it is still incredibly important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. While passing bad checks can result in felony charges and serious consequences, in many instances these cases can be resolved favorably and quickly. Depending on the facts of the case, it is oftentimes possible for a criminal defense attorney to negotiate a reduction or even dismissal of the charge — even if the person has been charged with a felony.

I have successfully represented many people charged with passing bad checks. Once I am retained, I get to work right away with finding solutions to resolve your case as favorably as possible, which will oftentimes begin with contacting the District Attorney’s Bad Check Unit to discuss negotiations so that we can amicably and quickly resolve outstanding arrest warrants.

If you have a bad check or casino marker case in Nevada, give me a call now at (702) 710-8882 so that we can discuss all of your options, and come up with a strategy that best suits your needs while taking into account the particular facts of your case. There is no need to lose another night’s sleep worrying about being arrested or jailed. Rest assured that we can sort out these issues and get your life back on track.

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