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What is Considered A Bad Check? Can I Be Charged with a Crime?

Everyone who has ever bounced a check is not charged with a crime, and bouncing a check, standing alone, is not criminal. Honest mistakes happen. It's probably a safe bet that everyone with a checking account has likely bounced a check, or come close. That does not mean criminal activity occurred. There are civil remedies available when someone does not make good on a bad check. But the law can punish by criminal sanction the check writer as well. 

Writing a check with the knowledge and intent that it will be dishonored is criminal. 

Writing a bad check can come in different varieties. The law deems a check  “bad” if there are insufficient funds in an account, and this occurs when: 

  • there are not enough funds to cover the check
  • if that account is closed 
  • there are no funds
  • the check is drawn on account that does not exist 

It is a crime to issue a check with knowledge of insufficient funds, or that the check will be dishonored. There are other circumstances under which a bad check can land you in some trouble with the authorities well. 

   -This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 1/15/20. 

I offer a no-cost conference to anyone accused of a crime. During this strategy session we will evaluate the evidence, assess the strength of the State’s case, and develop the most effective defenses and explore mitigation. If you stand accused, contact me today. 410 591 2935. 

Eric T Kirk

After graduating with honors from Albany Law School in New York, Eric Kirk has spent most of his 25 year legal career battling insurance companies to secure fair and just compensation for his clients in Maryland, New York, and Florida.