A person commits the act of passing bad checks when he or she makes, draws, executes, or delivers a check to another person for the exchange of present cash, goods, or services, knowing that the check will not be honored. It is automatically presumed that the defendant knew that the check would not be honored if :
- Defendant had no account with the bank at the time that the check was made.
- There were not enough funds in the defendant’s account to cover the check within 30 days of the check being delivered to the receiver.
People who write bad checks expose themselves to potential criminal punishment as well as civil liability.
The Statutory Punishment
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor deposit account fraud (passing bad checks) if the check is less than $500.00, and may be subject to a fine of not more than $500.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or both.
When the check is for more than $500.00 but less than $1,000.00, the fine will be not more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or both.
When more than one check is involved and those checks were drawn within 90 days of one another, the amount of each is less than $500.00, the amounts of the separate checks may be added together to arrive at the punishment commensurate with one bad check that exceeds $500.
When the check is for an amount of at least $1,000.00 but not more than $1,499.99, the defendant will be charged with a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
When more than one check is involved and those checks were given to the same entity within a 15-day period and the total of those checks are at least $1,000.00 but not more than $1,499.99, the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
When the check is for $1,500.00 or more, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and may be punished by a fine of at least $500.00 but not more than $5,000.00, or by imprisonment not to exceed three years, or both.
Upon conviction of a first or any subsequent offense, the defendant shall be required to make restitution of the amount of the check, together with all costs of bringing a complaint. The court may require the defendant to pay as interest a monthly payment equal to 1% of the amount of the check. This amount shall be paid each month in addition to any payments on the principal and any unpaid interest payments, is paid in full. Such amount shall be paid without regard to any reduction in the principal balance owed.
Costs shall be determined by the court from competent evidence of costs provided by the party causing the criminal warrant or citation to issue; provided, however, that the minimum costs shall be at least $25.00. Restitution may be made while the defendant is serving a probated or suspended sentence.
Any person pass bad checks on a bank of another state shall be guilty of a felony and, if convicted, shall be punished by imprisonment of at least one but not more than five years or by a fine in an amount of up to $1,000.00, or both. The prosecuting authority of the court with jurisdiction over a violation of passing bad checks may seek extradition for criminal prosecution of any person not within this state who flees the state to avoid prosecution.
No one wants to be in the position of scrutiny when it comes to passing bad checks. It is very easy for the State to meet the elements of this crime in order to secure a conviction. To make matters worse for a defendant, a person who faces this criminal charge will very likely be met with civil charges as well. A criminal conviction for passing bad checks makes it much simpler for opposing parties in civil court to prevail against based upon the same matter.
When it comes to handling your affairs in the courtroom, the State is not your friend. In these tough economical times, it is unfortunately not uncommon for a check to bounce. The State can be unforgiving; that’s why you need a lawyer who understands the finer points of the justice system to represent you in matters such as these. You need to hire ROY YUNKER LAW.