While using checks to pay for your groceries or other goods and services may seem like an old-fashioned form of payment for some, checks are still used across the United States to purchase items. And since checks are still in circulation, there are laws across the nation that protect businesses and individuals from fraudulent or “bad checks.” If you have been accused of issuing bad checks, you’re not alone. For whatever reason, the check in question has been deemed “bad,” there is always a solution. Bad check lawyers in Springfield, can help walk you through the process of a bad check charge and will aggressively fight for your rights. Contact Missouri Legal if you or a loved one is facing legal action concerning bad checks.
Below, you’ll find information in regards to critical aspects of the legislation that surrounds bad check writing such as the law, the penalties, and the limitations of prosecution. Let’s first take a look at what happens when a person is charged with passing a bad check in Springfield, MO.
Your Check Bounced, Now What?
Bounced checks happen all the time. For this reason, before a person is charged with the crime of passing a bad check in Missouri, he or she will be sent a notification of the “bad” check from the Bad Check Unit. Once the alleged offender has been notified of the infraction, they will be given ten days in which to pay the amount of the check or checks in full. Along with paying back the original amount in full, there is usually an additional fee (up to $200) that is tacked on to the amount. In most cases, bad check cases are dealt with at this stage. However, if the bad checks are not resolved at this stage, within the ten days, criminal charges will be filed against the defendant by the state.
Missouri’s Bad Check Laws
If you are charged with passing a bad check in Missouri, you may face penalties that range from a class A misdemeanor charge up to a Class C felony. The sentences can be broken down as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor – A person is charged with a Class A misdemeanor if the accuser believes that the defendant has written a check using a fictitious account number, bank, or he or she knowingly passes an inadequate or worthless check with the intent to defraud the recipient of the check.
- Class C Felony – Writing a bad check becomes a Class C Felony when a person knowingly passes a bad or worthless check in an amount of or over $500, with the intent to defraud the recipient or intentionally passes a check equal to or more than $500 using a fictitious account number or bank.
Penalties for Passing A Bad Check
From criminal and civil penalties and additional fees that are tacked on for passing a bad check, it’s essential to your case to hire a bad check lawyer in Springfield who is familiar with the complicated legal process of a bad check conviction. Penalties include:
- Criminal – Depending on the amount of the check or checks will determine what charge a person is facing. If convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor for passing a bad check, a person could face up to one year in jail and fines up to $1000. A Class C Felony conviction could land you up to 7 years in prison and a fine of $5000.
- Civil – In addition to criminal charges a person may face, the person or business who was defrauded as a result of the bad check can file a lawsuit against the defendant. To avoid this, contact the law office of Missouri Legal to discuss your options with a bad check lawyer in Springfield today.
- Fees – Unlike many other crimes, being convicted of passing a bad check carries additional costs that are not associated with the criminal conviction and potential civil lawsuit. Missouri law requires an additional payment for bad checks. This payment can range from $25 for checks less than $100, all the way up to $75 per check for bad checks that are more than $250. This money is then deposited into the Missouri Office of Prosecution services fund.
Prosecution Limitations for Passing a Bad Check in Missouri
As previously mentioned, a person can not be charged with passing a bad check until he or she has received a notice from the Bad Check Unit and has failed to respond. In addition to this limitation, there are other prosecution limitations for passing a bad check in Missouri. These limitations are designed to protect the defendant as well as the person or business who received the bad check. Hiring a bad check lawyer in Springfield will help you navigate the complex laws in order to avoid going through the lengthy court process. Other limitations, as stated by Missouri Revised Statutes section 556.036 include:
- A person who receives a third party check cannot file charges if the check bounces.
- If the dates do not have a date or signature, a person cannot press charges.
- If the defendant agrees to pay the full amount owed, a person cannot take them to court for passing a bad check.
- The complaint against the defendant must be filed within a year from when the check was received or issued.
If you’ve been accused or arrested for passing a bad check, call the bad check lawyers in Springfield at Missouri Legal immediately. Our experienced team of criminal defense lawyers can provide you with the help you need to drop the charges against you in exchange for payment or reimbursement of the money owed.