Writing a bad check can be considered a crime. In most cases, you will be required to pay a fine or serve jail time if your knowingly pass along a bad check. Post-dated checks that bounce are not punishable as a crime. This is because post-dating a check is not considered intentional fraud.
Fees For Writing A Bad Check
Generally, you are going to be charged a fee for writing a bad check. Most banks charge $25 for exceeding the amount you have in your checking account. Any retailer that you attempt to write a check to will also add a fee of $25 or more. Another penalty of writing a bad check to a retailer is the inability to write future checks to purchase goods from that retailer.
Some stores allow you to write checks again once you have paid the amount of the bad check. For example, if you wrote a check for $50 that bounced, you would have to pay the $50 plus any fine levied by the retailer.
Who Is Responsible For The Check
Technically, the person who signs the check will be held responsible if the check bounces. However, other parties can be held responsible as well. Simply handing over a check for someone else to sign can place you in hot water with the law. Someone who simply has knowledge of a bad check being used as payment can be held liable in some cases as well.
When Do Criminal Penalties Apply
Different states have different thresholds for turning a misdemeanor into a felony. In other words, state statute will determine if you will face jail time as opposed to a simple fine. The threshold for being charged with a felony is usually $500. This means any bad check written for over $500 could land you in jail. Writing more than one bad check can also land you in jail on felony charges.
Writing a bad check is immoral and illegal. No business can stay alive if people are not paying for the goods that they buy. Accidentally bouncing a check happens from time to time. It is usually an embarrassing situation that results in a small fine. However, it could be a crime that can land you in jail for several months or years. Avoid jail time by simply writing checks that you know you can cover.
Criminal and civil penalties for writing bad checks are different from state to state. Find the appropriate state below to find out the criminal and civil penalties.
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