The writing of non-sufficient funds checks, or "bad" checks, can cause problems for the individuals or businesses that find themselves on the receiving end of this unlawful action. Under section 97-19-57 of Mississippi law, a person who writes a bad check is presumed to have the intent to defraud. Civil and criminal penalties can ensue.
The writer of a bad check can avoid liability if they make full restitution to the check holder within 15 days of receiving notice from the holder. This notice must conform in content to Mississippi law section 97-19-57(2). The issuer of the NSF check must also pay a service charge to the holder of up to $3. If the check writer does not respond within 15 days of the receipt of this notice, the holder may file a complaint with the Bad Check Unit of the Mississippi District Attorney's Office.
The Mississippi Bad Check Unit
The Bad Check Unit (BCU) works through the Mississippi District Attorney's office to assist individuals and businesses in the collection of funds from NSF checks. The check holder must submit the bad check, bearing the bank stamp, to the Bad Check Unit with a filed complaint. Once the holder files the complaint, they are not to accept payment from the issuer. The BCU will attach an additional $40 state fee and a $30 victim's fee to the bad check. Under state law, the BCU must send a series of letters to the writer of the check, giving them a chance to pay on the check through their office.
Civil and Criminal
If the issuer of the bad check fails to respond to the BCU notices, the Unit may assess further fines and penalties. If this also fails to bring restitution, the Unit will present the case to a Mississippi grand jury for an indictment. If the individual is indicted, a felony warrant is issued for their arrest.