If someone writes a check without sufficient funds in the bank to cover it, he may face criminal or civil penalties in most states. Utah law allows the receiver to sue the check writer under specific circumstances: The recipient notifies the check writer in writing that her check was not honored and 30 days have passed without reimbursement. The check receiver must go through the civil court system to get his money back and may press criminal charges against the check writer as well.
Send the check writer a letter by registered mail. Your letter must inform the check writer that his check was returned for insufficient funds and ask him to pay you the amount of the check plus a service fee ($20 as of November 2010). You must also tell the check writer in the letter that he has 30 calendar days from the date of receipt to return the money to you.
Check your mailbox or online for the delivery receipt for your letter. Save the receipt.
Wait 30 days. If the check writer does not reimburse you for the bad check, go to small claims court. File a claim against the check writer. Utah law allows you to sue for the amount of the check, service charges and attorney's fees.You may also sue for damages of $100 or three times the cost of the check, whichever is greater.
Bring the check, the notice from the bank informing you that the check was returned, a copy of the written notice you sent and the delivery receipt to court. Show these items to the judge as evidence that the check writer wrote a bad check and did not reimburse you for it. The judge will hear the case; if your evidence supports your claim and the check writer does not have an adequate defense, the judge will rule in your favor and order the check writer to pay the amount you asked for.
You may also contact the district attorney's office to pursue criminal charges against the bad check writer if she fails to reimburse you for the check after receiving written notice.
- Utah Legislative Code: Code 7-15-2: Dishonored Instruments
- National Credit Union Administration. "Understanding a Check and Balancing a Checkbook." Accessed Apr. 27, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "I Received a Check Where the Words and the Numbers for the Amount Are Different. Is This Check Valid and for How Much?" Accessed Apr. 28, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Can a Bank or Credit Union Cash a Post-Dated Check Before the Date on the Check?" Accessed Apr. 29, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Can I Cash a Check at Any Bank or Credit Union?" Accessed Apr. 29, 2020.
- You may also contact the district attorney's office to pursue criminal charges against the bad check writer if she fails to reimburse you for the check after receiving written notice.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.