Passing a bad check in the state of Ohio is an illegal and criminal act. Even if you write a check for basic utilities, gas, or food, you can still face criminal charges for passing a bad check if certain conditions apply to you.
To be charged with passing a bad check according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2913.11) one of the following situations must apply:
- You were aware and had knowledge that there were not enough funds in your bank or checking account to cover the expense indicated on the check;
- The check references an account that does not exist;
- The check was references an account that was opened with false information;
- You neglected to pay the original amount owed within the 10 day period of receiving notification;
- You received notification that the check bounced within 30 days after it was issued or within the 30 day period of the agreed upon deposit date.
Passing a bad check carries serious penalties and consequences. The resulting penalties you may face for being convicted of passing a bad check depend on how the monetary amount of the initial check. The following information details what criminal charge you will face and the associated:
- If you attempted to pass a check for any value up to $500, you will face a first degree misdemeanor. This entails up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- If you attempted to pass a check for any value between $500 and $5,000 to a single business or individual, you will face a fifth degree felony. This entails at least six months and up to one year in prison, as well as up to $2,500 in fines.
- If you attempted to pass a check for any amount between $1,000 and $5,000 to multiple businesses or individuals, you will face a fifth degree felony. This entails at least six months and up to one year in prison, as well as up to $2,500 in fines.
- If you attempted to pass a check for any amount between $5,000 and $100,000, this is a fourth degree felony. You will face at least six months and up to 18 months in prison, as well as up to $5,000 in fines.
If you are being charged with passing a bad check, there may be potential defenses that can be raised to fight this offense. The following may be used as a defense, if applicable to the facts and circumstances of your case:
- If it can be proven that you are of good character;
- If it can be proven that fraud can be traced to someone else, separate from you;
- If it can be proven that you did not have know that the check would not be accepted;
- If it can be proven that you were mentally incapable or intoxicated at the time you wrote the check;
- If it can be proven that you had a temporary extension of funds with your bank.