Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Q For Readers

What can you do if someone writes you bad checks?

6 comments:

Rob Carlson said...

Go to the issuing bank and check the balance. If it can't cover it, make a note and contact them about it. If they refuse to make good on it, sue them for the balance in SCC.

Jack said...

if nsf then go to the court commissioner's office and file criminal charges. much quicker and more effective than the civil route.

buzoncrime said...

mjb---While both Rob and Jack had pretty straightforward answers for you, one civil, the other criminal, sometimes the situation isn't so straightforward. And sometimes, it isn't worth the efforts either way; but sometimes it is.

On the civil side, one can go to small claims court (if it's a small claim), but you have get the other person served, he/she has to come there, and if you get a judgment, then you have to somehow collect.

On the criminal side, you used to have to make a police report before you see the commissioner; he/she will then question whether this is or is not a contract dispute or civil case. Then, they might issue a summons for the person to appear in court to answer the charge of false pretense. They may or may not appear (you have to rely on the police to serve it), and if they don't the judge has to decide on whether or not to issue an arrest warrant. (Of course, if they do appear, there is pressure on them to pay up before trial--but they might say that they simply don't have the money).

And there are even more variables possible. A lot depends on who's writing the checks for what; of course, don't take any more. In any event, you must make a "good-faith" effort to collect.

Feel free to give me a call if you want for a few minute chat.

Luke said...

There was that one guy in Baltimore County who got sentenced to 30 years for writing bad checks -- but, of course, that was thousands of dollars in bad checks and the 30-year sentence later got dropped to 18 months. But still, there can be some serious penalties for it.

MJB said...

Do you have to show a "good faith" effort to collect? Is there a certain amount of time or # of letters required?

.. and to go to small-claims court in the city, where do you go? How do you file?

buzoncrime said...

On the civil side, the court urges you to make every effort to collect, and even to settle out of court for less. If one doesn't make a good-faith effort to collect, they end up wasting a good lot of time.

On the criminal side, the commissioner almost certainly will not issue anything without some, though not fixed, efforts to collect; of course, registered letters and personal contact are best.

In order to file in SCC, you have to go to the court's offices, which used to be at 501 E. Fayette Street, but now may also be had at Calvert and Centre. You have to fill out some forms and pay a fee.