Bad Checks

Checks may not be as popular as they were 20 years ago, but the laws surrounding fraudulent checks remain. In Texas, you can be charged with a crime for issuing a worthless check or similar sight order. That means if you knowingly write a check while having insufficient funds, you could be arrested as a result. If convicted, you could face serious penalties including time behind bars.

Issuing a bad check or similar sight order is usually not intentional by the offender. Many people charged with the crime were unaware they even had insufficient funds. If you or someone you know has been charged with issuing a bad check, then it’s imperative you seek a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience with white collar crimes. They can evaluate your case and formulate a defense to fight your charges in court.

Houston Attorney for Bad Check Charges in Texas

Issuing a bad check or similar sight order is a relatively victimless crime. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with serious penalties. A conviction could mean time in jail and very steep fines in the thousands. Protect your rights and future by contacting an experienced defense attorney with The Benken Law Firm.

Brian Benken and his associates at The Benken Law Firm understand how stressful a criminal charge can be. We also have years of experience defending clients from various types of crimes. With our caring and effective approach, you can expect to feel confident about your defense when you enter that courtroom. Call The Benken Law Firm now at (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area and throughout all regions of Texas, which does include Bellaire, Houston, Deer Park, El Lago, La Porte, Pasadena, Tomball, and Hunter’s Creek Village.

Overview of Bad Checks in Texas

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What Does it Mean to Issue a Bad Check?

A person can issue a check in a variety of ways under the Texas Penal Code. The legislation itself can be found under Section 32.41, which states a person commits an offense if they issue or pass a check or similar sight order for the payment of money knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the check’s full payment. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the issuer had knowledge of the insufficient funds to convict.

It’s presumed the issuer intentionally issued a bad check if:

  • They had no account with the bank or other drawee at the time the check was issued; or
  • The payment was refused by the bank or other drawee for lack of funds or insufficient funds on presentation within 30 days after the check was issued. For the issuer to be charged with a crime, they must have failed to pay the holder after 10 days of receiving notice of the refusal.

It’s important to notice that an official notice of refusal must be sent by:

  • First class mail, evidence by an affidavit of service;
  • Registered or certified mail with a return receipt

The notice letter must also contain the following:

  • The check or order;
  • The records of the bank or other drawee; or
  • The records of the person to whom the check was issued to; AND
  • Contains the following statement:

    “This is a demand for payment in full for a check or order not paid because of a lack of funds or insufficient funds. If you fail to make payment in full within 10 days after the date of receipt of this notice, the failure to pay creates a presumption for committing an offense, and this matter may be referred for criminal prosecution.”

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What Are the Penalties for Issuing a Bad Check?

Issuing a bad check is considered a class C misdemeanor in Texas, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500. The crime can be enhanced to a class B misdemeanor if the check was in relation to a child support payment for which the issuer had an obligation to pay under a court order. The maximum penalties for a class B misdemeanor include up to 180 days in jail and a possible fine of up to $2,000.

Unfortunately, the penalties do not stop there. Convicted offenders may be required to make restitution payments for the bad checks or sight orders they issued. The restitution must be made through the prosecution’s office and can vary depending on the circumstances of the crime.

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Stealing or Receiving a Stolen Check or Similar Sight Order in TX

A similar offense to issuing a bad check is to steal a check or accept a stolen check. This crime can be located under Texas Penal Code Section 32.24. The statute establishes that a person is committing a crime if they steal an unsigned check or similar sight order. It also states a person can be charged if they accept an unsigned or stolen check with the intent to use it, sell it or transfer it to a person other than who it was originally issued to.

Stealing a check or similar sight order is a class A misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for the crime is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

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Additional Resources

Bad Check Laws in TX – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code and learn more about the penalties for issuing bad check or similar sight orders. Access the site to read the elements of the crime, aggravating factors, admissible defenses and other related crimes.

General Information About Bad Check Cases – Visit the official website for the Harris County Justice Courts to learn more about bad checks and how Harris County handles them. Access the site to learn more about the District Attorney’s Check Fraud Division, local rules of the court and other relevant information.

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Bad Check Houston Defense Attorney in TX

If you or someone you know has been arrested for writing a bad check or similar sight order, consult The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm is a reputable attorney with over 30 years of experience on both the prosecution and defense side. He has an in-depth knowledge of how both sides of the courtroom work, which can put him ahead in your case. Find out more about your legal options by setting up a consultation with The Benken Law Firm.

Get in touch with The Benken Law Firm by calling (713) 223 - 4051 today. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout all parts of Harris County and the greater Houston area including Alief, River Oaks, The Heights, Midtown, Downtown Houston and Spring Valley Village.

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(713) 223 - 4051
Benken Law