Regardingn a bounced check, can I just contact whoever is taking me to court and pay it off before the court date so that the case is dismissed?

UPDATED: Dec 27, 2013

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Regardingn a bounced check, can I just contact whoever is taking me to court and pay it off before the court date so that the case is dismissed?

I moved to Boston 2 years ago from a small town 1 hour away. I stopped to use the bank account I had there but didn’t close the account. We contacted the post office with our address change and never had problems getting our mail. Yesterday I got a notice that I need to be in court on the 16th of next month and that I’m being accused of larceny by check for under $250. I have not idea what this is about. I have means to pay the amount and if I was aware of this I would have paid.

Asked on December 27, 2013 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't--once a case has reached this stage, the complaining witness (the "victim") is no longer in control: the authorities (e.g. the prosecutor) decide what to do. You should retain an attorney to help you (if you can afford one); the attorney (or you, if you can't afford a lawyer) can contact the prosecutor's office, find out what happened (e.g. "what it's about"; express contrition; and state that if a check bounced, it was by accident and you'd like to make arrangements to pay any amounts owed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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