How long can a merchant hold a bad check before turning it in to the prosecutor’s office?

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2010

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How long can a merchant hold a bad check before turning it in to the prosecutor’s office?

I have received letters from the prosecutor’s office for checks that is over a year old and the have came by first class mail, not certified or requested mail. Is this legal?

Asked on July 15, 2010 under Criminal Law, Arkansas


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If the prosecutor's office has sent you letters regarding bad checks, you need to provide information on what the letter states.  If the letter is asking you to explain the bad check, it could be simply that the individual who received the bad check simply just got around to submitting the item to the police or filing a criminal complaint.  If the individual prosecutor's letter is asking you to pay it, you need to determine if you wrote the check knowing you had no funds and received services or goods or even if you didn't, if you still received those services and goods and the check in question bounced? The prosecutor doesn't have to send anything to you via certified mail or registered mail, unless the person is attempting to file an action against you then service of process regulations/laws come into play.  There may be a statute of limitations issue on filing a misdemeanor action but if the check amount qualifies as a felony, the prosecutor may actually have a year or more to file an action.

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