Updated July 1, 2020
NRS 205.130 is the Nevada law that prohibits fraudulent activity with regards to checks. Passing a bad check is generally treated as a misdemeanor if the amount is less than $1,200.00 and a felony if the amount is $1,200 or greater.
The statute states that “a person who willfully, with an intent to defraud, draws or passes a check or draft … when the person has insufficient money, property or credit … to pay it in full upon its presentation, is guilty.”
In Nevada, unpaid casino markers are treated the same as bad checks.
Below our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about Nevada check fraud laws.
1. What is check fraud in Nevada? (NRS 205.130)
Check fraud is deliberately passing a check with insufficient money in the bank account. And in Nevada, courts presume defendants have intent to defraud once the checks bounce.
So whereas defendants are normally presumed innocent, check fraud defendants are essentially presumed guilty. But there may be ways to rebut this presumption.1
2. What are the defenses?
Potential bad check defenses include:
- The defendant’s identity was stolen;
- The defendant paid in full within 5 days; or
- The defendant was incapacitated
In Las Vegas, the Clark County D.A.’s Bad Check Department prosecutes bad check cases.
2.1. Someone else wrote the check
Checks are easy to steal, and signatures are simple to forge. An expert witness who specializes in counterfeits and forgeries may be able to show how someone other than the defendant passed the bad check.
If the defense attorney can show that the defendant was an identity theft victim, the prosecution should drop the charges.
2.2. The defendant paid within five days
Defendants who make good on bounced checks within five days of being notified are no longer presumed to have intent to defraud. So if the defense attorney can show records that the defendant paid within this grace period, the check fraud charges may be dismissed.2
In casino marker cases, casinos usually give marker-holders 10 days’ notice before filing a criminal complaint.
2.3. The defendant was incapacitated
Emergency situations such as being in the hospital do not automatically let NRS 205.130 defendants off the hook. But it weakens the presumption that the defendant had an intent to defraud.
If the defense attorney can show that the defendant was ill or indisposed at the time the check bounced, it may act as leverage when negotiating a plea bargain.
3. What are the penalties?
Check fraud punishments depend on the check amount.
Nevada check amount
Penalties for non-payment
|Less than $1,200||Misdemeanor:|
|$1,200 or higher|| Category B felony:|
Traditionally, Nevada D.A.s are willing to dismiss bad check cases if the defendant pays back the money. In some cases, they will set up monthly payment plans.
4. Can I get the record sealed?
Yes. Dismissed charges can get sealed right away. But convictions must remain on the defendant’s record for a period of time before being sealed. The length of this wait depends on the conviction:
Bad check crime in Nevada
Record seal wait-time
|Category D felony||5 years after the case ends|
|Gross misdemeanor||2 years after the case ends|
|Misdemeanor||1 year after the case ends|
|Dismissal (no conviction)||Immediately.4|
Learn about how to seal Nevada criminal records.
5. What are the immigration consequences?
Check fraud is a crime involving moral turpitude because of the intent to defraud element. Consequently, trying to pass a bad check is deportable.
Non-citizen defendants should consult with an attorney right away about fighting the charges. As discussed above, it may be possible to get NRS 205.130 charges completely dismissed. A dismissal may be the only way to avoid immigration court.
Arrested in California? Go to our page on California bad checks law (Penal Code 476a PC).
Arrested in Colorado? Go to our page on Colorado bad check laws (18-5-512 C.R.S.).