Bad Check Laws in Ohio

Anyone who writes a check knowing they do not have the funds available to cover the cost of the check in their bank account is doing so fraudulently. This is illegal, and can be punishable with prison time, as well as fines. If a person writes a bad check, the creditor or bank institution will notify them, and they will need to make restitution to avoid any legal issues.


Those who pass a bad check in Ohio for less than $500 will be charged with a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor carries a $1,000 fine, and is punishable with up to six months jail time. The jail time may not be presumed necessary, but depending on the judge, it may be mandatory. This conviction will stay on the defendant's criminal record, and could prevent them from opening a checking account in the future.

Fifth-Degree Felony

Anyone who writes a bad check for more than $500 in Ohio could be charged with a fifth-degree felony. The felony carries a $2,500 fine and a possible sentence of five years in prison. Unlike a misdemeanor, this charge will remain on the defendant's criminal record, and could not only prevent them from opening a checking account, but also from getting a job in the near future. For instance, those individuals who work around money will have to pass a criminal background check, and passing bad checks will not be tolerated, because it constitutes fraud.

Necessary Prison Time

Passing bad checks in Ohio for more than $5,000, but less than $100,000 is considered a fourth-degree felony. Fourth-degree felonies may not require jail time, but a definite fine is imposed. Those who pass bad checks for more than $100,000 will be charged with a third-degree felony, and jail time of up to eight years in prison plus a fine will be imposed. The conviction will stay on the permanent record of the convict, and aside from the fine and jail time, restitution will have to be made to the people, organization or business the check or checks were written to.

Recovering Funds

When a creditor or business goes to recover money from someone who paid them with a bad check, they may obtain up to three times the original amount. The creditor may also collect any fees or bank charges they accrued, in addition to the original amount. The law allows the creditors to request payment from the person who wrote a dishonored check, if the person has not repaid or made resolution to the check within 30 days of the date it was written. The law requires a written notice be sent to the person who wrote the bad check; if they chose to ignore the notice, legal action can be taken.

Payment Agreements

The law in Ohio does not allow the creditor or business to take legal action after they have set up payment arrangements with the person who wrote the bad check, as long as the person is abiding by the arrangements. However, if the person who wrote the bad check misses one payment, or pays a different amount than agreed to, the creditor and business may seek legal action. Once the amount and any fees agreed to have been paid, the creditor may not file any legal actions against the person.

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