If have an overdrawn checking account that has been closed, canI be arressted?

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If have an overdrawn checking account that has been closed, canI be arressted?

The collection agency implied that I would be arrested. It was closed by the bank and not me (I didn’t write enough checks).

Asked on October 23, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, don't take everything the collections agency says at face value; their goal is to get you to pay up, so they often try to scare you--even though they are *not* supposed to make incorrect or empty threats.

Second, simply overdrawing an account is not itself criminal. Nor is having an account closed by a bank. What is criminal is deliberately passing bad checks. Often, passing several bad checks that will be dishonored is taken as evidence of intent (i.e. doing it deliberately). However, the circumstances still have to be taken into account: for example, it's very different to have 4 checks, all written on the same day, dishonored when the reason for the dishonoring is that a payment into the account simply didn't clear in time; than to have 4 checks dishonored because you wrote them over a period of time, knowng that you didn't have the money in the account or the account was already closed.

So overdrawing itself doesn't cause criminal liability, nor does having an account closed. Passing bad checks in a way that suggests it was done intentionally might.


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