DIRECTIONS FOR PURSUING WORTHLESS CHECKS
In NC, it is a misdemeanor to write a check with insufficient funds, on a nonexistent account or on a closed bank account if the check is for less than $2000.00. If the check is for greater than $2000.00, then it becomes a felony. There is program with the District Attorney's office whereby if a person is notified of the bad check and then makes good on the check, including all fees and costs, within the deadline then no warrant will be issued.
To comply with North Carolina's worthless check statute, you need to send a certified letter, return receipt requested, to the address which appears on the worthless check. However, if you also send a copy of the letter to issuer's current address if known, you may have a better chance at collecting your money.
Be sure to keep the white certified post office receipt for the District Attorney's Office. Also, keep the signed green post office card or the unopened letter if either is returned to you. You have to wait 15 days after the certified letter is mailed before you can apply to the Wake County District Attorney's Office for the Worthless Check process. The issuer does not have to have picked up the certified letter for you to pursue bad check charges. You must have just sent the letter and have proof that you did so by saving a copy of the letter you sent as well as white certified post office receipt. After the 15 days has expired, you then go to the ninth floor of the Wake County Courthouse, Room 902. The District Attorney's office will actually send a letter to the issuer indicating that they have 30 days to pay the money indicated on the check or a criminal warrant will be issued for the bad check. If the issuer does not pay, then the District Attorney's office will apply to the Criminal Magistrate for the warrant.
When you go the District Attorney's office, you will need to take the original check with you. If you have waited several months to cash the check, the DA's office has the discretion to not pursue the charges due to the passage of time i.e. not cashed within four months of the date of the check. Most banks will not cash a check that is six months old or older. You will also need the following when you go to the DA's office, all photocopied on one 8 ½ x 11 sheet of white paper: a copy of the letter you sent to the issuer by certified mail, a copy of the white certified mail post office receipt, a copy of the green certified mail receipt card, if the issuer signed that, a copy of your bank statement or letter indicating the fee the bank might have charged you for the bad check, and a photocopy the front of the check. In order for all of these items to appear on one piece of paper, you will need to reduce the size of each these items on a copy machine until all of it can fit on one 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper.
You will need to also have filled out the Application for the Worthless check process. That application can be found on line:
That application requests as much of the following information as you have: the issuer's street address, telephone number, race, sex, date of birth, age, social security number, driver's license number, and employer. The application also requests the amount of the check, the date the check was written, the name of the bank on which the check is drawn, the city/state where the bank is located, your name/address/telephone number and the name/address/telephone number of any witnesses. You may not have all of the requested information, but the more you have, the easier it is for the District Attorney's office to process the Application. The D.A. 's office will then send out the 30-day letter and then have the warrant issued through the Magistrate if the check issuer does not respond. The complaining witness does not usually have to appear in court for the bad check. You will be notified if you do.
There is a statute that sets out a civil remedy for a bad check of treble damages if the check and all fees are not paid within a 30-day deadline. Please see the statute for what must be contained in the certified letter.
This is general information about Worthless Checks and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice as it relates to your particular situation. Consult with our office to discuss how your particular facts relate to the law.