What are casino markers, and how do they become a criminal charge?
Casino markers are loans or lines of credit offered to casino patrons by the casino. The loans are typically secured by a check or checks that the casino holds until the marker is due. If the marker is not paid, the check is deposited in the patrons account. If the check is returned by the bank for Non-Suffficent Funds, the casino will move forward with collection activities. In Nevada, a check returned by the bank for non-sufficient funds constitutes a criminal offense. It is considered fraud to write a check without sufficient funds in your account at the time the check was issued. The returnd check will be sent to the District Attorney Bad Check Unit. The DA will send a letter demanding payment, or else a criminal case will be filed and an arrest warrant issued. Once the arrest warrant is issued, the only way to quash the warrant is to retain an attorney and appear in court. Casino markers above $250 are charged as felonies in Nevada.
How do I handle my casino marker case in Nevada?
If you are unable to pay the casino markers in full, the best step is to contact an attorney in Nevada who is experienced in handling these types of matters. Your attorney will first contact the casino and attempt to work out either a payment plan, or a lump sum payment for some lesser negotiated amount. If you attorney is able to work out a payment plan, you will likely have to pay the entire amount owed. If your attorney can negotiate a lesser amount, you will likely have to pay that in one payment. If the case has laready gone to the District Attorney, then the attorney will negotiate with their office. If a warrant has already been issued,then the attorney will place the matter on calendar to quash the warrant, and set it for further proceedings while he negotiates on your behalf. The casinos and the DA are unlikely to negotiate reductions of the amount with you directly. It is important to choose an attorney who has a lot of experience and connections to negotiate for you.
What defenses are available to me if I have unpaid casino markers in Nevada?
It is important to understand how the casinos in Nevada control the political process in Nevada. That is how they were able to criminalize what are basically civil matters, namely making bad loans. Having said that, there are still some defenses available in casino marker cases. First and foremost, if you had the money to cover the check in the bank account the check was written on at the time it was written, that poses a defense to the allegation that there was an "intent to defraud". Further, if the casino marker is not fully filled out, there may be defenses revolving around that issue. Also, if you were intentionally given large amounts of alcohol or drugs by the casino and you were too intoxicated to enter into a contract, that may also provide a defense. You absolutely need to consult with an experienced attorney who handles casino marker cases to understand what defenses may be available to you. Casinos in Nevada are very powerful. You need firepower to fight back.
If a criminal charge is filed against me, will I be convicted and have a criminal record?
If the DA does file a criminal case against you, don't despare. Your attorney may still be able to negotiate the amount owed, get you time to pay, and eventually get the case dismissed. As long as you have satisifed the casino (with whatever negotiation can be worked out), as well as the fees tacked on by the District Attorney, your case may be dismissed. No conviction. Once the case is dismissed, your attorney can petition to seal the record of arrest, and wipe the entire matter away altogether. Once that occurs, there will be no record of the case having ever happened. This is why it is crucial to seek and retain the best criminal defense attorney you can to help you get through this process. The attorney will likely do the following: Buy you time to improve your financial situation by extending the case; negotiate for a reduced amount, or for low payments; protect you from having a criminal conviction; and save you money. All good reasons to hire the best lawyer you can.
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