Can writing a bad check jeopardize your immigration status?
Many states have criminal statutes regarding bad checks. New Jersey is one of them. Many people do not know that writing a bad check can be a crime in New Jersey.
When is writing a bad check a crime?
When a person issues or gives a check knowing that it will not be honored (paid) by the bank.
When is a person presumed to know the check won't be paid?
The issuer of the check is presumed to know the check won't be paid when:
- He/she does not have an account with the financial institution at the time the check was issued; or
Payment was refused by the bank due to insufficient funds or a closed account AND the issuer failed to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal or after notice has been sent to the issuer's last known address. N.J.S.A.
Is writing a bad check a serious offense?
In New Jersey, writing a bad check is:
- A crime of the second degree if the check or money order is $75,000 or more;
- A crime of the third degree if the check or money order is $1,000 or more but is less than $75,000;
- A crime of the fourth degree if the check or money order is $200 or more but is less than $1,000;
- A disorderly persons offense if the check or money order is less than $200.
- N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5(c).
Can I be deported for writing a bad check?
It depends on 1) when you wrote the check; and 2) the amount of the check. If you were charged with a bad check offense, you should consult an immigration lawyer immediately. Under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(i), any person who, within five years of the date of admission to the United States, commits a CIMT for which a sentence of one year or more may be imposed is deportable. Note that this may include misdemeanors that can be punished by a one year sentence.
Can USCIS deny my citizenship application because I was charged with writing a bad check?
Writing a bad check is essentially theft. Writing a bad check is a crime involving moral turpitude and as such it could be considered for purposes of determining whether you have a good moral character. Also, a conviction of writing a bad check can make you deportable under section 237 of the INA. In order to determine whether you are deportable, consult an immigration lawyer.
I have two convictions for writing bad checks. Can I be deported?
Yes, consult with an immigration lawyer immediately. Under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(ii), any person who at any time after admission to the United States is convicted of two or more CIMTs not arising from the same scheme of criminal misconduct is deportable, regardless of the sentence imposed.
Authored by: Aneliya Angelova