Prosecution of Bad Checks

Requirements for Prosecution
In order to win a prosecution of a bad check case in court, the prosecutor must be able to prove that a specific defendant wrote a specific check. Since many weeks may have passed from the time you accepted the check until the time you appear in court, we require you to have followed these procedures to make sure we will have a winnable case:
  1. Get the driver's license number of the person writing the check from his or her license, make a notation of what state the license is from, and make a notation of the person's date of birth.
  2. If you do not know the check writer personally, require the person to show current identification, including a photograph.
  3. Compare the person in the photograph to the person in front of you to make sure they match. That way, if you cannot recognize the person later at the trial, you can testify that you always compare the person to the driver's license photograph and that you did so in this case.
  4. Require a current address.
  5. Do not accept checks written on banks outside Missouri unless you are willing to accept the risk of loss.
Hindrances to Prosecution
Prosecution may not be possible in the following situations:
  • If the person who accepted the check is unknown or unavailable
  • If the person who accepted the check cannot identify the check writer
  • If the person who accepted the check did not make a record of the driver's license number and state issued
  • If you made an agreement with the bad check writer to take partial payments on the check
  • If you had an agreement with the bad check writer to hold the check
  • If the check was not dated or was post-dated
  • Third party checks
  • Stop payment checks (if the check writer is willing to make arrangements to return the property the check was for in substantially the same condition as when it was received)
Remember: Cashing a check is a privilege, not a right. You are not required to accept a check from anyone. You have the right to insist upon cash or money orders. Sometimes refusing to accept a personal check will save you time and money in the long run.

If you have any further questions, contact the Prosecuting Attorney's Office at (573) 547-1023.