A “Bad Check” also known as a Hot Check, a Dishonored Check, a NSF Check, a Bounced Check, a Worthless Check, Bogus Check, False Check or Rubber Check are names that refer to a check which the bank will not honor or pay due to there being insufficient funds in the maker’s account to pay the check. A check can also be a Bad Check if there is no such checking account, or a stop payment may have been put on the check when there was never any money in the account to begin with. Whatever name they go by, and for whatever reason they are not paid, they are considered “Bad Checks” when they are issued and not honored.
Writing a Bad Check is an unlawful act which has both civil and criminal penalties. In the State of Texas, writing a Bad Check is a crime and it could be punishable with a substantial fine or even jail time. Depending on the amount of the bad check or bad checks written, a person can be prosecuted for a felony. In the State of Texas it is a misdemeanor to write a Bad Check under the amount of $50.00 for both the first and second offense. It is however a felony, to write a Bad Check for an amount over $50.00. And, it is also a felony when a person commits a third offense of writing a Bad Check for an amount under $50.00
Depending on the type of Bad Check offense and the number of offenses committed, the potential criminal penalties under the Texas Bad Check laws start with up to two years in county jail or up to $1,000.00 in fines, or both, and continue all the way up to 10 years in jail. The holder of bad check may charge the obligor with any additional processing fees.
When a person who has written a Bad Check files for Bankruptcy under any Chapter, it will not protect them from criminal prosecution and will not discharge their criminal liability for any restitution, costs and fines associated with the criminal prosecution & restitution.
Additionally, a person who has written a Bad Check can still be arrested, notwithstanding the pending Bankruptcy. The Automatic Stay does not extend to matters of criminal prosecution. The Automatic Stay does stop the collection efforts of a non-governmental party who you may have written Bad Check to, but not their right to proceed to the District Attorney’s office and file a criminal complaint. Simply put, if you have a written Bad Check, the party to whom you wrote the Bad Check can still have you arrested and criminally prosecuted if you, in fact, committed the crime irregardless of your Bankruptcy filing. In summary, filing for Bankruptcy will not stop criminal prosecution for a Bad Check but will discharge the debt owed. The Discharge in Bankruptcy does allow certain unsecured debts to be discharged in Chapter 7 and Bad Checks is one of them. Chapter 13 can also discharge Bad Checks but its usually not the wisest thing to do. In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Bad Checks can be repaid as part of a Chapter 13 repayment plan, but again the filing of a Chapter 13 does not stop criminal prosecution for a Bad Check even though your plan may include repayment in full.
At The Law Offices Of R.J.Atkinson,LLC we generally recommend that if at all possible you should attempt make bad checks good prior to your filing for Bankruptcy in order to avoid criminal prosecution on the checks. Understandably this is not always possible to take care of a Bad Check or Bad Checks prior to filing a Bankruptcy since you may be facing a foreclosure, repossession, or other urgent motivating factor. When the only option is to file Bankruptcy before taking care of a Bad Check, you must at least be aware that the filing will not stop criminal prosecution.
If you have questions regarding more detailed or specific questions about Bad Checks and Bankruptcy contact The Law Offices of R.J.Atkinson,LLC for a to answer your questions about Bad Checks and Bankruptcy. Whether you’re in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, or Dallas, we may be able to assist you in filing for Bankruptcy Debt relief under The New Bankruptcy Law. Don’t lose everything. Call the The Law Offices of R.J.Atkinson,LLC at 800-436-9056 today.