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Bounced Check Laws

Updated March 23, 2017

A bounced check is one that is presented in exchange for goods and services, but fails to clear at the bank. This is often due to an oversight on your part. Such cases are quickly and easily remedied. The ones that aren't fall under the bounced or bad check laws.

Function

Bounced check laws were created to ensure that check recipients are repaid for the services or goods that the check issuer received. They are also designed to prosecute people who intentionally write bad checks.

Features

In order to make a criminal case, a prosecutor must prove that you set out to commit fraud in writing a bad check. Otherwise, the case becomes a civil matter, where the bad check receiver sues for damages.

Penalties

Civil penalties can be damages of as little as £6 to triple the amount of the original check plus legal fees. Criminal penalties can include fines (from £65 to £6,500) and/or a jail sentence of one to 10 years.

Considerations

Bounced checks that are taken care of quickly do not become an issue. It usually takes a business two to three months and several notices sent in the mail before any legal action is taken.

Warning

Once prosecuted, the bounced check fraud charge will guarantee you a criminal record. Depending on the amount of the bad check, you may be looking at a felony charge or two.

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About the Author

Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.