Have you ever wondered why so many people and businesses no longer accept checks? Aside from more and more people switching to plastic or electronic forms of payment, a business that doesn’t allow checks generally does so because that particular person or business has been burned too many times in the past by people passing a bad check. Passing a bad check in Missouri is a crime and while it may seem like a less serious crime than others, it is in the same category as theft or fraud; penalties for passing a bad check can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony. If you’re being charged with passing a bad check in Missouri, you need to understand what your up against and how the laws could affect your future. One of the first and most basic steps you need to take, is discussing the circumstances of your particular case with a professional criminal defense attorney in Missouri as soon as you are charged with passing a bad check.

What Does it Mean to Pass a Bad Check?

Passing a bad check is the term used to define a person who knowingly passes a bad or worthless check with the intent to defraud the recipient. What this means is that the person passing the bad check has the knowledge that he or she doesn’t have enough money in the bank account to cover the amount on the check and/or the check is written from a bank that he or she does not have an account or creates a check for a bank that doesn’t exist. These laws are outlined in the Missouri Revised Statutes section 570.120.

What Are The Penalties for Passing a Bad Check?

If you are charged and convicted for the crime of passing a bad check in Missouri, the penalties you will face are as follows:

  • If the check in question was made out for more than $500 or comes from a non existent account or bank, the penalty is a Class C Felony with up to $1000 in fines and a possible jail sentence from 6 months to a year.
  • If the check was made out for less than $500, the penalty is a Class A Misdemeanor.

As previously mentioned, passing a bad check is in the same realm of theft or fraud, a conviction like this on your record could dissuade potential employers from hiring you. Especially if the job deals with handling money, finances, or accounts. You can say goodbye to any future careers at a bank if you’re convicted of passing a bad check. Additionally, when applying for loans, buying a home, or renting an apartment you will most likely be required to give additional, extensive proof of your income, credit, and bank accounts than someone without a similar conviction would need to supply.

The Bad Check Unit

In Missouri, before someone can be charged with passing a bad check, they must first deal with the Bad Check Unit. This unit sends out a letter or notification to the offender, which outlines the specific time frame that the offender can bring payment to the Back Check Unit agency. Usually bad checks are resolved at this point before they even see the light of courtroom, especially in the cases where people have written a bad check by mistake. On the other hand, if bad checks are not dealt with through the Bad Check Unit, the offender will most likely be charged with the crime and could potentially need to defend themselves in court.

Passing a Bad Check Defense

If the bad check goes unresolved or unpaid for, a charge for passing a bad check will be issued to the offender, at this point it is up to the person in question on how to proceed. While defending yourself or hiring a state appointed attorney are both viable options, if you want to give your future a fighting chance, you need to partner up with a criminal defense attorney in Missouri. At Missouri Legal, our attorneys are committed to giving our clients the outcome they deserve at fair prices and friendly service. Contact our office  in Springfield, Missouri to schedule your free consultation.