In some states there is a criminal offense only when the bad check is given in exchange for property or for a present consideration.
In other states it is a criminal offense to issue a bad check with intent to defraud or with knowledge of insufficient funds.
The intent to defraud and knowledge of insufficient funds is required to be present by most states' bad check laws. It is not necessary for the payee to have actually been defrauded.
Since the debt is preexisting the maker of the check did not deprive the payee of any right; procure anything of value from the payee or wrongfully appropriate anything belonging to the payee.
On paper, the legal consequences for the maker of a bad check are usually quite severe, however, as a practical matter the holder of a bad check may find it difficult to put into effect available remedies.
In most localities it is necessary to file a complaint with the appropriate criminal justice officer such as a sheriff or district attorney to initiate criminal legal action.
While there are differences among the states as to how bad checks are viewed (whether a misdemeanor or a felony) and the remedies available to holders of the bad check against the drawer, there are several general factors that run through the majority of state laws: In all states the maker of a check, who tenders a check knowing there is insufficient funds or credit behind the check may be guilty of a crime and may be subject to civil penalties.
In the majority of states the crime is treated as a misdemeanor.
In states that make a distinction regarding a felony or misdemeanor, the amount of the check usually determines if the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony.
In several states the law provides for fines and or imprisonment, but does not specify if the crime is misdemeanor or felony.
The prescribed numbers of days for the various states are:- 5 Days In many states the criminal provisions regarding bad checks do not apply to post-dated checks.
Because post-dated checks are a promise to pay in the future, they are not technically viewed as checks.
It has generally been held that post-dated checks are not within the scope of most states' bad check laws.
It is generally held that the giving of a bad check in payment of a preexisting debt does not fall within the purview of most states' bad check laws.