Writing “Bad Checks” Is a Crime — There Maybe a Defense.

undefinedBy F. Clay Merris, Esq.

In Pennsylvania, writing a bad check can be a crime.  There is actually a specific subsection in Pennsylvania’s Criminal Code entitled “Bad Checks.”  People that I have previously represented on this charge have often been surprised that writing a bad check is a crime and not just a matter to be hashed out with one’s financial institution.

Pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. 4105, a “person commits an offense if he issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee.”  Under this statute, an honest mistake in writing a check that ends up not being honored by one’s bank should not lead to a criminal charge.  Note that the statute requires that the person writing the check knows it will not be honored.  The existence of this charge is cause for caution in handling one’s finances, though, as it is sometimes not easy for the police to determine whether someone has made an honest mistake.

I have had success in the past in disposing of these charges with a “Dismissal Upon Satisfaction” pursuant to Rule 586 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.  In this context, Rule 586 would allow the Court to dismiss the Bad Checks charge upon the defendant paying back the bank plus any associated fees.

If you are involved in a prosecution regarding Bad Checks, contact Scaringi Law’s experienced criminal defense attorneys at 717 657 7770.

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