One of the greatest challenges we face is managing money. Many people come close to overdrawing their bank accounts. If you write a check with insufficient funds in your account, you can’t cover that check and it is considered a bad check.
Continue reading to learn more about Texas Penal Code 32.41, which addresses the “issuance of a bad check,” and Code 31.02 that addresses “theft by check.”
What Is a Hot Check in Texas?
When you use a bad check to steal something, that is considered theft, according to bad check laws in Texas. Charges for writing hot checks in Texas are serious, and you should note that stealing and theft by check are quite similar.
What Is the Penalty for Writing a Bad Check in Texas?
When someone understands that they have insufficient funds, and they write NSF checks in Texas, such an act is unlawful. The “bad check” may be considered a Class C, B, or A misdemeanor, or even a first class felony depending on the amount the check is written for.
In these types of cases, the issuer must know that there were insufficient funds. Either one deliberately writes a bad check, or the person fails to deposit sufficient funds within 10 days of a returned/bounced check or insufficient funds notification. This notification from the bank may be written or actual notice.
A written NSF notice must be sent to the address that appears on the issuer’s checks or to any address that the bank has on file. The notice contains information regarding the demand for payment and a specific 10-day period in which the recipient of the message must comply. The notice assumes the crime was committed, and it announces that appropriate and timely legal action will be taken if the recipient fails to comply and is unresponsive.
Felony Check Fraud Charges
Texas hot check laws show us the difference between a bad check and theft by check. It’s important to be aware of this. Here’s where the difference occurs: when a bad check is issued with the intent of stealing property, the theft by check Texas punishment commences.
The theft by check Texas penal code applies when one of two things happens:
- The issuer of the bad check issues a check from a bank at which they possess no account.
- Or the issuer of the back check does not comply in providing sufficient funds within the 10-day window.
Penalty for Writing Bad Checks in Texas
In many cases, the prosecution will be able to gather substantial evidence to use against a defendant facing a fraudulent checks penalty. More than likely, the defendant will be caught in the act of attempting to pass a bad check. For example, a camera will record them passing the check in a bank or store. A sales clerk or bank teller may also be asked to identify the defendant.
In this case, the defendant may be advised to enter a plea bargain. The defendant may suddenly face conviction on several offenses. Consider related forgery cases in Texas. According to Texas law, the offense may be punishable by up to 2 years in state jail or prison or a fine up to $10,000. If someone steals or accepts a stolen check, they could face up to 1 year in county jail or a fine up to $4,000.
A defendant could even face additional charges of identity theft if they are convicted of check fraud and stolen documents. ID theft is, of course, an extremely serious crime that might even lead to federal charges and additional years in prison.
How Long Does a Bad Check Stay on Your Record?
If you are convicted of writing bad checks in Texas, this reported information lingers with you for a period of five years. You’ll have a criminal record, and this will haunt your credit report for 1,800+ days of your life. There is a possibility you might be allowed to open another checking account with banks that work with past fraudsters with poor credit and banking histories.
How to Report Check Fraud in Texas
Check fraud Texas penalties are no small matter. If you are the recipient of a bad check, you must send the issuer a demand for payment letter. You must allow a 10-day window for payment, including the NSF amount and any collection fees, before you can file any charges. The same rule applies if the issuer stops payment on the check.
However, there is absolutely no 10-day window or waiting period if the issuer writes a check from a fraudulent bank account. The recipient must file the charges with the District Attorney or Justice of the Peace within 30 days of receiving the hot check.
Finally, bad check issuers who make partial payments without having an approved payment schedule or who decide to file bankruptcy may still face prosecution in Texas.
If you’ve been accused of writing hot checks in Texas, you’ll need a reputable criminal defense attorney in Houston on your side. Contact the Law Office of Seth Kretzer today for experienced representation when your money and freedom are at stake.