A dishonored check is one that is returned unpaid by the banking institution of the issuer due to insufficient funds. This occurs when there is not enough money in the account from which the check was drawn to cover the amount of the check.
A dishonored check is also known as a bad check or a bounced check. In many states, it is a criminal offense for a person to write a check knowing he does not have sufficient funds in his bank account to cover the check. It is up to the receiver of the check to decide whether or not to file a lawsuit against the issuer of dishonored check.