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Justice of the Peace Pct. #6


Information for Filing Bad Checks


Adobe Acrobat Document Bad check filing form

      The check must be deposited within 30 days from date of issuance.   A check must be stamped or flagged by the bank, for reasons marked, "NSF", "Account Closed", or "No Account".  We cannot take checks that are postdated, funds held, stop payment (for services), or refer to maker, as criminal cases, but you may file a case in Civil Court.  A check filed in the Justice Court is filed as a Class “C” misdemeanor:  Issuance of Bad Check, or IBC.  (Penal Code 32.41)  Class C misdemeanors are punishable by fine only.  Checks larger than $20.00 may be filed with the District Attorney’s office.  Checks larger than $500.00 MUST be filed with the District Attorney’s office unless the check was written for rent.  All rent checks must be filed criminally as an IBC. Checks marked “Stop Payment” may be filed with the District Attorney’s office for theft (Penal Code 31.06).

      On NSF checks you must send a certified letter, with return receipt requested, to the person who signed the check.  The letter should be sent to the address on the check unless you have proof that the person has an updated address.  The letter should identify the check, state why it was returned by the bank, and contain the following statement: "This is a demand for payment in full for a check or order not paid because of lack of funds or insufficient funds.  If you fail to make payment in full within 10 day after the date of receipt of this notice, the failure to pay creates a presumption for committing an offense, and this matter may be referred for criminal prosecution."   (Penal Code 32.41) The law only requires that the letter be mailed.  If they refuse it or have moved leaving no forwarding address, a complaint may still be filed.  If there is more than one check being submitted for the same person, and individual letter for each check must be mailed, along with each check number written on each individual green card.  On checks stamped “Account Closed,” no letter is required and the check may be filed immediately.  Checks marked “Stop Payment” can be filed with the District Attorney’s office for theft (Penal Code 31.06).

      You should have a good address, race, sex, date of birth, and driver's license, before filing a complaint.  If we do not have this information, we cannot be as effective. Officers can not make an arrest without identifiers.  We can only accept checks for 12 months after the date the check was written.  Post-dated checks, checks older than 12 months, or checks without identifiers will not be accepted by this office.

      Fill out the complaint form, giving us any and all information you have.  Staple the check to the top of the complaint.  (An extra copy of the complaint and check is required).  Bring the green card signed by the defendant, or the certified letter returned by the post office-unopened.

      If a green card is received back form the post office - the complaint can be filed on the 10th day after the postmark; if the letter is returned by the post office - the complaint can be filed on the 15th day after the postmark.  If account is closed, no notice needs to be given.  If notice is sent, the complaint can't be filed until the 10th or 15th day as in the other cases.

      When restitution is made to our office in the form of a money order you should receive a notification phone call, and you may pick up the restitution during our normal business hours.  Upon payment of restitution and fine, the defendant will be given their original bad check back and our office will recall the warrant.  DO NOT accept money then request a dismissal for the complaint after you have filed it with the Court. Accepting restitution may result in the refusal of filings by your office.

      If the defendant can be located, he/she must make restitution, have a trial, or go to jail.  If he/she cannot be located and arrested, the warrant will be returned to the Court marked "Unable to Locate" and the case may be dismissed.


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