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What are some penalties for writing bad checks?

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Quick Answer

Writing a bad check brings a variety of penalties that vary by state, and the circumstances determine whether the penalty is civil or criminal, explains FreeAdvice.com. In New York State, a penalty for a bad check can bring a fine of up to $750 or three months in jail. In California, there is a fine of less than $200 and up to a year in county jail for a first-time offense.

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Full Answer

The civil penalties outline how much a recipient can collect after he has received a bad check, states Credit.com. Some state laws outline this as the amount of the bad check, and could include up to triple the amount of the check, plus additional penalties for damages and attorney fees, as of 2015.

In states with criminal penalties, an arrest and prosecution is possible for writing a bad check, warns Credit.com. Bounced checks become a criminal matter when the person who wrote the check did so with the intent to defraud.

Another penalty that does not come in the form of money is an effect on the check writer's credit, says Credit.com. A credit reporting agency receives information on the bounced checks, and over time, these marks on the check writer's credit report can prevent him from obtaining credit.

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