What are my rights if my payroll check bounced and I was arrested?

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What are my rights if my payroll check bounced and I was arrested?

A few months back I worked for a insurance company that paid me with a company payroll check. I cashed the check at the supermarket. It was for $133; this was in 03/10. Well last night I was arrested for it. At midnight the law came into my bedroom and watched as I got dressed so they could take me to jail. 5 officers came to my house, after putting me in the car. They stood around outside talking then took me to the county line were another officer put me up and took me to there station. Bond was $500 and I had to call a bondsman to come get me from the county Ilive in. Can this all be legal? Should I speak with a criminal defense attorney? In Henry County, TN.

Asked on August 31, 2010 under Criminal Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

DEFINITELY speak with a criminal defense attorney attorney, immediately, and do not speak with anyone from the police or prosecutor until you do.

From  what you write, there seems to be something else going on. Bouncing a check--i.e. having a check refused for insufficient funds--is not criminal; ordinarily, it leads to, at most, some additional civil liability (e.g. having to pay a processing or bounced check fee). For you to be arrested, one or more of the following must be going on:

1) They think you knew the check would be dishonored, which means that if you still intentionally tried to pass it, then you committed the crime of passing a bad check.

2) They think you stole the check.

3) They think the company has done something illegal, which you were part of.

If you just innocently bounced a check, you should probably not have been arrested--and could possibly have a claim for false arrest or similar. Or if the arrest is justified, the authorities may believe you implicated in a more serious crime. Get the defense attorney to  help you sort this out.


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