Depending on the amount of a bad check in Texas, the criminal charge may be a misdemeanor or a felony. For this reason, the time frame a person may be charged, or the statute of limitations, is two or five years, depending on which category the check falls into.
Theft by Check
If a person obtains goods or services with the issuance of a check which does not have sufficient funds to be covered, it is presumed the act was intentional and may qualify as theft by check. This is also the case if a check is drawn on an account that is no longer open. A person may avoid the theft by check charge if he pays the holder of the check within 10 days of being notified of the delinquency. Theft by check does not apply to checks that are post-dated.
A misdemeanor is a type of criminal charge that is considered to be of a less serious nature. Theft by check in Texas is classified as a misdemeanor if the amount misappropriated is less than $1,500. A misdemeanor charge of theft by check has a statute of limitation of two years from the date of the commission of the offense. Therefore, charges may be brought up to two years after a bad check is written.
Likewise, a felony is Texas is considered to be a more serious crime. To be classified as a felony, the amount of the check must be over $1,500. Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a felony charge of theft by check has a statue of limitations of five years from the date of the offense.
Purpose of Limitation
The purpose of the statute of limitation in criminal cases is to relieve a defendant of the burden of trying to defend a case when evidence and memories of the occurrence may no longer may attainable. For example, it may be more difficult for a person to attest to their whereabouts from several years prior. For this reason, prosecutors are required to bring their cases within a certain timeframe, except in certain cases. In Texas, these exceptions include murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, and certain crimes involving children.
After the Statute of Limitation
If the statute of limitation has passed, a defendant may argue that criminal charges may not be pursued. If the judge rules in the defendant's favor, the charges will be dismissed.