Now I understand! Thank you so much for clarifying your question!!!
I had been wondering what on earth your case had been doing in criminal court, because I didn't see why it belonged there. I have been looking at the law of your state and I found nothing in the NC statutes to show that a post-dated check should be treated as a criminal offense under the NC bad check statues. I thought maybe that it wasn't a criminal matter after all and that the threat of jail was the judge letting you know he'd put you in contempt if you can not pay the fines.
Now that you have confirmed that you are being criminally prosecuted, I would agree that you have a good argument that the matter should be dismissed because the court has no jurisdiction over post-dated checks. The judge and prosecutor, of course, can disagree and the judge can deny a motion to dismiss, however, and here's why:
I am assuming that what happened was that your vet didn't wait for the date on the check. He deposited them right away and they bounced. That's why you're being prosecuted -- the bounced checks provide evidence that you may not have had the funds or the intent to pay for the charges.
The suspicion that you may have intended not to pay this vet is all that's necessary to charge you with the crime of passing a bad check, as it makes out probable cause for your arrest. Probable cause requires only a reasonable belief that a crime may have been committed and that you may have been the one to commit it. But the standard for an arrest is much, much lower than the standard for a conviction. In order to find you guilty of these charges, the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your checks would not have cleared on the date you wrote on them.
It would likely be very difficult for the state to win this case, but they are entitled to try. You can make your argument to dismiss but it will probably fail. You do not, however, have to take the judge''s offer. You can certainly fight this unless unless there's other evidence against you that you haven't shared.
You'll do better with a lawyer. I realize it would be cheaper to pay the charges than to hire an attorney, but if you are eligible for a public defense lawyer, you can the judge to appoint you one. You're on the right track with what you want to have happen here, but if the state is not inclined to let go of it, you're going to need help to avoid putting yourself at risk of a criminal conviction.
If I've helped, please click on the green accept button so that I can get paid for my work. This thread will not close and you can always come back to it with a follow-up question for further clarification. This is informational only and there is no attorney/client relationship established here. You are advised to contact a lawyer in your state for specific legal advice.
Edited by FranL on 5/2/2010 at 4:20 PM EST