Passing a bad check could land you in cuffs

We write checks all the time. Most people will at least write one check a month. Thankfully for debit cards you are less likely to see someone pull out a check book at a store. However, writing checks is still a big part of paying bills for most people. Passing a bad check, could land you in jail.

If you write a check and there are insufficient funds in your checking account, you could be charged with larceny by check. Essentially, the prosecution needs to prove that:

• you wrote the check

• got something in return for writing that check

• knew that you didn’t have enough funds in your account

• wrote the check with the intent to defraud someone

With the economy as bad as it is, a lot of people are struggling to pay their bills. As a result, people’s bank accounts are dwindling and this could lead to more checks being bounced. When you bounce a check, it is pretty easy for the prosecution to prove that you wrote a check and got something in return. After all, most of us write checks to pay bills or in exchange for something.

It is much more difficult for the prosecution to prove that you knew that you didn’t have enough funds in your account, or had the intent to defraud. The prosecutor can’t look into your brain and see what your intent was, so they will have to rely on other evidence. One of the most common ways for the prosecution to try to prove that you knew there was insufficient funds and had the intent to defraud, is to look at the account. For example, if you wrote a check for $5,000 and your account usually has $5,000 or more, then it won’t help the prosecutor’s case much. On the other hand, if you write a check for $5,000 and your account never had more than $10 in the account, then that will be a problem for you.

Most people who bounce a check will never be charged with anything. Times are difficult making bad checks more common. In the end, to avoid any possible problems check you account status and make sure checks clear.

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For more information about this post:

MA General Laws Chapter 266: Section 37. Fraudulent checks, etc.; drawing or uttering

Jury Instructions on Larceny by check

News day report on larceny by check scam

Berkley man faces larceny by check charge

For more information: visit or contact me at 508-808-8902

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