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California Penal Code Section 476a

476a. (a) Any person who, for himself or herself, as the agent or representative of another, or as an officer of a corporation, willfully, with intent to defraud, makes or draws or utters or delivers a check, draft, or order upon a bank or depositary, a person, a firm, or a corporation, for the payment of money, knowing at the time of that making, drawing, uttering, or delivering that the maker or drawer or the corporation has not sufficient funds in, or credit with the bank or depositary, person, firm, or corporation, for the payment of that check, draft, or order and all other checks, drafts, or orders upon funds then outstanding, in full upon its presentation, although no express representation is made with reference thereto, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(b) However, if the total amount of all checks, drafts, or orders that the defendant is charged with and convicted of making, drawing, or uttering does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), the offense is punishable only by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, except that such person may instead be punished pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 if that person has one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 or for an offense requiring registration pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 290. This subdivision shall not be applicable if the defendant has previously been convicted of three or more violations of Section 470, 475, or 476, or of this section, or of the crime of petty theft in a case in which defendant s offense was a violation also of Section 470, 475, or 476 or of this section or if the defendant has previously been convicted of any offense under the laws of any other state or of the United States which, if committed in this state, would have been punishable as a violation of Section 470, 475 or 476 or of this section or if he has been so convicted of the crime of petty theft in a case in which, if defendant s offense had been committed in this state, it would have been a violation also of Section 470, 475, or 476, or of this section.

(c) Where the check, draft, or order is protested on the ground of insufficiency of funds or credit, the notice of protest shall be admissible as proof of presentation, nonpayment, and protest and shall be presumptive evidence of knowledge of insufficiency of funds or credit with the bank or depositary, person, firm, or corporation.

(d) In any prosecution under this section involving two or more checks, drafts, or orders, it shall constitute prima facie evidence of the identity of the drawer of a check, draft, or order if both of the following occur:

(1) When the payee accepts the check, draft, or order from the drawer, he or she obtains from the drawer the following information: name and residence of the drawer, business or mailing address, either a valid driver s license number or Department of Motor Vehicles identification card number, and the drawer s home or work phone number or place of employment. That information may be recorded on the check, draft, or order itself or may be retained on file by the payee and referred to on the check, draft, or order by identifying number or other similar means.

(2) The person receiving the check, draft, or order witnesses the drawer s signature or endorsement, and, as evidence of that, initials the check, draft, or order at the time of receipt.

(e) The word credit as used herein shall be construed to mean an arrangement or understanding with the bank or depositary, person, firm, or corporation for the payment of a check, draft, or order.

(f) If any of the preceding paragraphs, or parts thereof, shall be found unconstitutional or invalid, the remainder of this section shall not thereby be invalidated, but shall remain in full force and effect.

(g) A sheriff s department, police department, or other law enforcement agency may collect a fee from the defendant for investigation, collection, and processing of checks referred to their agency for investigation of alleged violations of this section or Section 476.

(h) The amount of the fee shall not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25) for each bad check, in addition to the amount of any bank charges incurred by the victim as a result of the alleged offense. If the sheriff s department, police department, or other law enforcement agency collects a fee for bank charges incurred by the victim pursuant to this section, that fee shall be paid to the victim for any bank fees the victim may have been assessed. In no event shall reimbursement of the bank charge to the victim pursuant to this section exceed ten dollars ($10) per check.

(Amended November 4, 2014, by initiative Proposition 47, Sec. 7.)

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Last modified: September 9, 2016