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How to Expunge Erroneous Accusation of Theft by Check??? Criminal Records, Expungement

Discussion in 'Criminal Records, Expungement' started by robinmc2, Jun 3, 2005.

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  1. robinmc2

    robinmc2 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I found out yesterday, during a background check for a volunteer position, that I had a year-old warrant for my arrest for theft by check. After much anguish and upset, I finally figured out I was being charged with passing off a hot check, which occurred due to a heavily documented bank error. The sheriff's department issued a warrant for theft with a check because one of the checks was not resubmitted, and was subsequently sent to their office as a bad check.

    Everything that could go wrong, went wrong with this check. First, the teller at our bank deposited my money in my daughter's account, and money I was giving to my daughter in MY account. As a result of that first mistake, I had six checks bouncing all over the place.

    I called the bank, which immediately took responsibility. The bank removed all the insufficient funds fees, and contacted all the vendors ... or so I thought. One check fell through the cracks and ended up at the sheriff's department because it wasn't resubmitted by the vendor, my pharmacy.

    The pharmacy, where I STILL shop and purchase my prescriptions, told the sheriff's department that they couldn't find me (although I was writing checks for months after this check bounced, and they obviously were in contact with me). I also went into the pharmacy, told them about the check, and offered them cash, but one of the clerks told me the check would be resubmitted (which I just discovered did not happen).

    After the check was submitted to the sheriff's department hot check division, a certified letter was delivered to our former address. The proscecuting attorney's office has a copy of a signed certified letter, signed by the tenant who lives there. We were never told about the letter, nor did we receive it.

    My husband paid the fees today, and the case was dismissed.

    From what I understand, however, and from what the sheriff's department clerk told my husband, my record is now ruined and requires a lawyer to fix it. Although the case is dismissed and I'm no longer under the threat of arrest, this blemish will stay on a PERMANENT criminal record, for the rest of my life, unless and until I try to get it expunged. And that is going to cost me time and money.

    I feel as if I received little due process in this case. I was wrongly accused of a crime I did NOT commit. I was unable to defend myself, because I was never told about this accusation. I also was required to pay fines in order to prevent being arrested. FYI: this was not a judgment placed by the court - this was a charge placed against me by the county's prosecuting attorney's office (bad check division) after they couldn't locate me.

    Theft by check states that there is INTENT to write a bad check. This issue was obviously initiated by a bank error, and I have piles of proof. Representatives of the bank even assert that this was an error on their part. So as far as I'm concerned, I am NOT GUILTY.

    Now that we are on the other side of this SNAFU, I've been doing some research, and have discovered that this travesty of errors has never included me as a player. The bank, the pharmacy, and even the sheriff's department, which lackadaisically tried to locate me, all dropped the ball.

    The pharmacy offered to write a letter to the sheriff's department, asking them to drop the charges and remove the accusation. I don't know if the proscecuting attorney's office is able to do that, but at least the pharmacy is willing to try. The bank again paid all the fees and fines. In addition, I have requested that they provide me with an attorney, or the fees to hire my own, to get this record of "theft by check" misdemeanor charge (I was never convicted or even went to court) expunged from my record. It doesn't matter to me that it was dismissed; the fact the charge even exists to begin with bothers me.

    What I want to know is - what are the chances of this dismissed accusation being expunged from my record, can I be declared innocent, and what type of attorney do I need to look for? How much does something like this cost? To help alleviate the costs and damage already done, should I attempt to sue the bank, pharmacy, or other entities for damages, or just let this issue go?

    I don't want my record to be permanently damaged. I am a homeschooling mom, journalist, and teacher. I can't afford for this to stay on my record because my reputation is at stake. Thank you for your advice.

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