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Are Rubber Checks Illegal?

Merriam-Webster defines a “rubber check” as a “check returned by a bank because of insufficient funds in the payer’s account.”

You’ve probably heard of people writing bad checks before. After all, whenever you check out at the grocery store, you can’t help but notice a prominently displayed sign near the cashier that warns people of an insufficient funds fee of $35.00 for returned checks.

While checks may seem obsolete and a thing of the past, people still use them every day. As with credit cards, people may not realize how much they’re spending because they don’t have the cash in their hands, and sometimes people get into trouble after writing bad checks.

Was ‘intent’ involved?

In some situations, people write rubber checks accidentally. Let’s say that Mary’s husband John withdrew money from their shared bank account without telling her. When Mary went to write a check to the grocery store, she didn’t realize the funds were not there to cover the check.

Some people write rubber checks intentionally because they don’t have enough money to pay for necessities, such as groceries. Some people are bad at math and “hope” the funds will be there and some people fully intend to put the money in the bank before the check is cashed.

Others, know there isn’t money in the bank and they write a rubber check knowingly and intentionally with the intention of obtaining a product or service without paying for it.

Then, there are those who have enough money in the bank when they write a check, but once they obtain the goods or services they want, they quickly withdraw the money before the check can be cashed.

Writing a Bad Check is Illegal

In Texas, it’s against the law to intentionally write a bad check and this is covered under Section 32.41 of the Texas Penal Code.

Under this section, a person commits the offense ofissuing a bad check or similar sight order when he or she issues a bad check knowing that their banking institution does not have sufficient funds to cover the check.

If a person is charged under Sec. 32.41 for writing a bad check, they may make restitution for the bad check, and they shall pay the restitution through the prosecutor’s office or by another means approved by the court.

Writing bad checks under Sec. 32.41 is a Class C misdemeanor, unless the check was written for child support, in which case it would be a Class B misdemeanor.

A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum fine of $500, whereas a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000, or up to 6 months in jail, or both a fine and jail.

If you’re facing criminal charges for writing a bad check, contact our Plano criminal defense firm today!

Categories: Theft Crimes, Bad Checks