Negligent Hiring and Supervision: Do You Know Who Your Employees Are and What They Are Doing?

Negotiating Commercial Leases

The Queen's English - Would We Lie to You? (Part II)

Year End Tax Planning Tips


Today's Small Claims Court

So What's An Esquire?


Call Your Lawyer Before You Sign that Agreement!

Selling Your Business or Property with Seller Financing

The King's English

Negotiating Personal Guarantys

Using Communication to Collect


Are you prepared to operate in the year 2000?

Jones v. Clinton - Sifting Through the Debris

The King's English

Contracts with Key Employees

New Uses for the Old IRAs

New Uses for the Old IRAs

Five Practice Areas You Should Be Aware Of


Why You Should Like "Like-Kind" Exchanges

What Is Garnishment?

Pennsylvania's Bad Check Statute

An Overview of Trademark Registration

Equity and the Law

The Queen's English

Latin Lovers V

The Attorney-Client Privilege


Perjury (Would We Lie?)

Retirement Plans: An Overview

Restrictive Covenants

Five Ways to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Bill

Tax Free Sale of Residence

If a Tree Falls in the Woods...


Is Your Business Safe From Sexual Harassment Charges?

Crime and Punishment

Latin Lovers VI

What is Strict Liability?

Watch Out For Limited Tort Option

The Queen's English - Should There Be A Their There?

Corporate Signatures



Pennsylvania's Bad Check Statute

It is a crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to pass a check for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the underlying bank. For purposes of Pennsylvania's bad check statute, a person tendering a check is presumed to know that the check will not be paid if payment was refused either because the issuer had no account with the bank at the time the check was issued, i.e., a check issued on a closed account; or payment was refused by the bank for lack of funds within 30 days, and the person issuing the check fails to make good on it within 10 days after receiving notice of insufficient funds.

The severity of the criminal offense depends upon the amount of the underlying check. If the check is for less than $200, the offense is a summary offense, similar to a traffic ticket. For bad checks between $200 and $500, the offense is considered a third degree misdemeanor. If the check is between $500 and $1,000, the matter is a second degree misdemeanor; a first degree misdemeanor is committed if the check is for $1,000 or more, up to $75,000. If you violate the bad check statute with a check of $75,000 or more, you have committed a felony.

Upon conviction of a violation of the statute, in addition to a fine and possible jail time, the court is required to order the offender to reimburse the payee for the face amount of the check, interest from the date of dishonor, and any service charge incurred. In addition to criminal liability arising from passing a bad check, there is civil liability. The recipient, who presumably exchanged something of value for the check, has a civil claim against the maker under Article III of the Uniform Commercial Code. This allows an action to be brought by a private party in addition to any criminal action that might be brought by the Commonwealth.

If the police and/or the district attorney elect to prosecute the matter as a criminal violation, it is often best to defer any civil litigation until the outcome of the criminal case is known, because the prosecution can sometimes result in the offender making good on the obligation without need for resort to the civil courts. In addition, because a crime is involved, a civil judge may be unwilling to proceed immediately if a parallel criminal proceeding is in progress.
- Kevin Palmer

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