Nevada "Bad Checks" Laws (NRS 205.130)

Deliberately passing a check with insufficient money in your bank account is a crime in Nevada. It also looks bad on your record and might cause employers not to hire you for a job.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers have been very successful in getting bad check cases dismissed. Our first goal is to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. Otherwise, we are prepared to fight for you all the way to trial.

Scroll down to learn about Nevada bad check law. We cover the definition, defenses, and penalties, including when you may seal your record in Las Vegas.

The legal definition of Bad Checks in Las Vegas, NV (NRS 205.130)

Passing a check when you know you do not have money in your bank to pay for it is a crime. Specifically, any person who "willfully, with an intent to defraud, draws or passes a check or draft to obtain:

(a) Money;

(b) Delivery of other valuable property;

(c) Services;

(d) The use of property; or

(e) Credit extended by any licensed gaming establishment ("casino markers"),

drawn upon any real or fictitious person, bank, firm, partnership, corporation or depositary, when the person has insufficient money, property or credit with the drawee of the instrument to pay it in full upon its presentation, is guilty" of a crime.

Intent to defraud (NRS 205.132)

Note that a key element of the Nevada crime of passing bad checks is "intent to defraud." This means that you have committed no crime if you honestly did not mean to pass a bad check. However...

Nevada law is very unfair. It presumes you intended to defraud if your account has insufficient funds when you passed the check. Therefore your attorney, not the prosecutor, has the burden to show that you meant no harm.

Defenses for bad check charges in Las Vegas, NV

Despite the unjustness of Nevada's bad check laws, there are several possible defenses available. The following are some of the strategies your attorney may use when fighting your charges:

  • Sufficient funds. You are not criminally liable if your bank account had sufficient funds at the time you passed the check. Producing bank statements showing you had the money should cause the charges to be dropped.
  • Payment within five (5) days. You should not be prosecuted on Las Vegas bad check charges as long as you paid the money within five (5) days of notice that the check bounced.
  • Illness or another emergency. Emergency situations technically are not defenses to bad check charges. However, they may act as leverage when negotiating a plea bargain. They also may cause the Las Vegas court to issue less severe penalties.

Penalties for bad checks in Las Vegas, NV

Sentences for issuing a bad check(s) in Nevada depend on how much money it was made out for:

Less than $1,200

If a bad check(s) was for less than $1,200 total, then it is only a misdemeanor in Las Vegas. You may petition to get a misdemeanor sealed one (1) year after the case is closed. A conviction for a misdemeanor in Las Vegas carries:

  • restitution of the check amount, and
  • up to six months in jail, and/or up to $1,000 in fines

However, a fourth-time conviction is treated as a category D felony in Las Vegas, carrying:

  • restitution of the check amount, and
  • one to four years in Nevada State Prison and maybe up to $5,000 in fines

Category D felony convictions cannot be sealed until five (5) years have passed after the case is closed. That is why it is so important to have counsel to try to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

$1,200 or more

When a bad check(s) is for $1,200 or more, a conviction is a category D felony in Las Vegas. It may be sealed from your record five (5) years after the case is closed. The punishment includes:

  • restitution of the check amount, and
  • one to four years in Nevada State Prison and maybe up to $5,000 in fines

However, if the check was for the payment of wages, it is punished less seriously. It is only a gross misdemeanor in Las Vegas carrying a sentence of:

  • up to one year in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Gross misdemeanor convictions may be sealed from your record two (2) years after the case is closed.

Plea bargains

Traditionally, Nevada D.A.s are willing to dismiss bad check cases if you pay back the money. In some cases, they will set up payment plans so you do not have to repay it all at once. Once the case is dismissed, you are free to petition the court to seal your record in Las Vegas right away.

You still may be able to avoid Nevada prison if you do not have the funds to repay all the money. Some D.A.s may allow you to pay back a lesser amount.

If you do not have any money, some D.A.s may agree to the following plea deal:

  • you plead to a gross misdemeanor in Las Vegas,
  • you are sentenced to probation for a year or more, and
  • you sign a "civil confession of judgment" admitting that you owe the money

A civil confession of judgment then permits the "victims" to try to recover the money from you. But if you are truly judgment-proof, they may not go through the trouble of suing you to begin with.

Nevada Casino marker law

Unpaid casino markers are treated as a type of "bad check." Casinos often give marker-holders ten (10) days notice before filing a complaint with the Clark County D.A. Bad Check Unit.

For in-depth information on casino markers, go to our article on Nevada casino marker law.

Accused of passing bad checks under NRS 205.130? We are here to help ...

If you would like to explore possibly getting your bad check charges dismissed or reduced, call us. Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) can meet with you for free.

Also see our article on the Nevada crime of credit card possession without consent.

Arrested in California? Go to our page on California bad checks law.

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