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Do you understand what state law says about writing bad checks? - II

In today's post, we'll continue our previous examination of what the law in Maryland has to say about bad check violations, a type of theft-related crime that can result in some surprisingly serious penalties.

What options does the person or business that received the bad check have?

The person or business that received the bad check has the option of filing charges. However, it must be noted that an Application for Statement of Charges for Bad Check can only be filed immediately if payment was refused due to a closed account, a nonexistent account or an account being subject to a hold.

If the payment was refused due to insufficient funds, state law dictates that the person or business must wait at least 10 days from the date of the refusal before filing an application for charges. Here, the rationale is that it gives the person who wrote the bad check the chance to rectify a potential mistake before the court system becomes involved.

What are some of the penalties for a bad check violation?

Our state's criminal statutes dictate some of the following penalties for bad check violations:

  • A person who obtains property or services with a value of less than $100 by passing a bad check is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days and/or a fine not exceeding $500.
  • A person who obtains property or services with a value of less than $1,000 by passing a bad check is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 18 months and/or a fine not exceeding $500.
  • A person who obtains property or services with a value of at least $1,000 but less than $10,000 by passing a bad check is guilty of a felony and is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • A person who obtains property or services with a value of at least $10,000 but less than $100,000 by passing a bad check is guilty of a felony and is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 15 years and/or a fine not exceeding $15,000.

What does the law have to say about restitution?

State law indicates that if the person or business receives restitution for the bad check violation, they may drop the criminal charges. Here, they should contact the state attorney's office, and provide such information as the defendant's name, the case number and date the application for charges was originally filed.

If you are facing any sort of theft-related charges -- shoplifting, burglary, fraud, identity theft --  consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected and your reputation is preserved.

Source: District Court of Maryland, "Bad checks," Accessed Jan. 5, 2015 

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