Thank you for using Just Answer. Writing a bad check can turn into a criminal matter if the intent to defraud is present. This means that the person who wrote the bad check fully intended to defraud the other party. A prosecutor would have to show that you knew, at the time you passed the check, that there wasn't enough money in the account to cover the charge. If the case is being referred to the District Attorney's Office, it will be assigned to a prosecutor who will review the case and determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant charging you. In Pennsylvania, a person who knowingly passes a check that will not be honored can face criminal charges if caught. The seriousness of the criminal offense depends on the amount of money on the check itself. If intent cannot be proven, then there cannot be a conviction. If you have written a check for under $200 dollars, you will be charged with a summary offense, which is similar to receiving a traffic ticket. If you have written a check that bounced for between $200 to $500, this is generally considered a third degree misdemeanor
. For bounced checks between $500 and $1000, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. If you have written a bad check for $1000 to $75,000, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries the most severe penalties of all misdemeanors. Bad checks of $75,000 or more will be charged as a felony. Conviction of any of the above offenses involves a fine and or potential jail time. In general, the court will order the person convicted to reimburse the payee, including interest and service charges. In situations where you are being prosecuted, you may want to hold off on resolving the civil matter until your criminal case is resolved. In many cases, the outcome of the court case can include resolving satisfactorily the obligation to the payee, which would negate the need for a civil case. In other words, since you'd likely have to pay back the amount of the check plus fees anyway, it negates the civil claim. If convicted, people can expect to pay not just the amount of the original bad check but also additional court costs, fees and fines. Any check less than $200 can come with a fine or 90 days in jail, or both a fine and jail time (though that would be unlikely in first offense). Any convicted misdemeanor bad check situation can come with a prison sentence up to five years, a fine, or both. If the company won't take payment from you, you can try and see if the business will accept payment for the check amount plus any fees. If they won't, then you're really in a position where you'll have to wait and see what happens. If you are charged, you'll want to get a local criminal attorney
involved right away. Since it certainly doesn't sound like you meant to defraud anyone, they may be able to negotiate a dismissal of the charge in exchange for you paying back the check to the merchant plus any other fees. If the prosecutor's office declines to charge you, then I imagine the check processing company will contact you again at that point to make payment, so whatever you do, set the money aside for the amount of the check, along with some extra to cover any fees. If you need clarification or additional information, please reply and I'm happy to assist further. Thank you.