Can You Be Arrested For Writing a Bad Check?
Over the years, there has been a gradual shift in the method consumers use to make their payments. In the beginning, the only option was cash, followed by a shift to checks for the added security of the money that people had. In more recent years, there has been a transition to debit and credit cards as the primary payment option. Still, checks are used as a form of payment for many and also in bill pay options. Occasionally, an automatic check payment is mailed directly from the bank.
As a payment is scheduled in advance, the account owner may potentially forget that a deduction will occur and by the time the check is withdrawn from the account, there is simply not enough money to cover the funds requested. If this happens even once, the bank will sometimes make the payment and charge additional fees for the inconvenience. Although, consistently writing bad checks can result in significant legal trouble.
A consumer may write a check to a bank for money they do not have in the account and also a company can write a bad check to an individual, such as an employee. To knowingly do so is considered to be a deceptive practice, which is illegal. Although the first offense can be prosecuted, evidence of prior knowledge is indeed accumulated by the second and third offenses.
The person who wrote the bad check may find themselves in civil or criminal court, and potentially both. If the accident is discovered quickly enough, the payor may be able to pay the cost of the checks to the payee and the incident will be forgotten. If the recipient chooses to take the case to civil court, the offender may be ordered to:
- Pay the amount owed, or
- If the payee can prove that the defendant acted deceptively, the penalty may be up to three times the amount of the initial check, court costs, and legal fees.
Alternatively, if the payee has already filed a complaint with local law enforcement, the case cannot choose to be dismissed, even if the beneficiary wants to drop all charges. At this point, the State’s Attorney's Office is the only one who can dismiss the case as they will be conducting their investigation. A conviction of “deceptive practices” may be considered to be a Class A felony (the most serious) and is punishable by up to a year of incarceration as well as a fine of up to $1,000 and restitution.
Contact Our DuPage County Lawyers
Accidentally writing a bounced check can be a frightening experience. If you have been accused of deceptive behavior and writing bad checks, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney. Hiring the right attorney can make the difference between only paying the cost of the check and being behind bars for a year. If you are interested in speaking with a proven DuPage County criminal defense attorney, contact the Davi Law Group, LLC today at 630-580-6373. We have four convenient offices in Wheaton, Warrenville, Joliet, and Chicago.