Penalty for a Bad Check in Kansas

By Phyllis Zorn
If your check bounces, the penalties can add up fast in Kansas.

check and pen in close up image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com

Writing a bad check in Kansas can be an expensive mistake by the time fees, damages and costs are added to what you must pay. Since Kansas has both civil and criminal penalties for writing bad checks, you can also end up on probation or in a prison cell.

Service Fee

Kansas laws allow a business or person holding a bad check to demand a service fee of up to $30 and interest, whether or not they take the check writer to court. They must notify the check writer that the check did not clear the bank, and of the service fee, two weeks prior to turning the check over for prosecution. In order to avoid being prosecuted, the check writer must deliver cash in the amount of the check, plus the service charge, within seven days of getting that notice.

Prosecutor’s Administrative Fee

If the check holder turns the matter over to the county attorney’s office for prosecution or collection, an administrative fee of $10 can be automatically added. Under Kansas law, the fees gathered must be paid into a special account to be spent at the county's discretion, and can be used to support the operation of the county attorney's office.

Damages

Damages of up to three times the amount of the check, but not exceeding the face value of the check plus $500, can be awarded in a Kansas court. These damages are in addition to court costs, service charge, interest and any costs of collection including attorney fees.

Criminal Charges for Checks Over $25,000

If the value of the check, or the sum of bad checks written by the same person within seven days, is $25,000 or more, the writer can be charged with a level 7 felony. Under 2010 Kansas Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction for a level 7 felony is likely to result in two years' probation or community corrections. Persons with a previous record of crimes against other people can be sentenced to prison instead.

Criminal Charges for Checks $1,000 to $24,999

If the value of the check, or the sum of bad checks written by the same person within seven days, is between $1,000 and $24,999, the writer can be charged with a level 9 felony. Under 2010 Kansas Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction on a level 9 felony is likely to result in a year’s probation. Those with a previous record of crimes against other people can be sentenced to prison instead.

Criminal Charges For Checks Less Than $1,000

If the value of the bad check or the sum of bad checks written within seven days is less than $1,000, the check writer can be charged in Kansas with a Class A misdemeanor--unless they have previous convictions within 5 years. If there are previous convictions, the charge is level 9 felony.

About the Author

Phyllis Zorn of Enid, Oklahoma, has been a journalist since 1993, working primarily in Kansas. She is currently at the "Enid News and Eagle." Zorn has also written for "Hays Daily News," "Goodland Daily News," "Atchison Daily Globe," "Salina Journal" and KSAL Radio in Salina, Kansas. Zorn holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Kansas Wesleyan University.

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