Please take note of the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, which
notes that Google Answers is not a source of professional advice. You
may want to seek out some free or low-cost legal services in your area
to get a professional opinion.
That said, here's what I think...
The odds of your case actually resulting in criminal prosecution seem small.
First, the landlord would really have to be peeved beyond belief to go
that route, especially since the effort/time/expense involved on her
part is not inconsequential.
Second, this could well be an interstate matter, which means (as I
understand things) that the state of Arkansas would have to file an
extradition to Georgia in order to make the charges stick. While this
is not unheard of, it doesn't strike me as anything that's likely to
happen for this fairly minor transgression.
Third, the landlord most likely wants their money, plain and simple.
It's hard to see what they would have to gain by filing a criminal
complaint, unless they have reason to believe that there is no other
recourse, and that you have no intention to pay up.
On that last point, it seems to me that your best option right now is
to impress upon the landlord (either directly, or through the lawyer,
or both) your sincere intention to pay up ASAP. Some things to
--First, check your lease to see what it says about payment, late
payments, fees for being late, repercussions, and so on.
--With the lease provision in mind, let them have a concrete timetable
-- when will they get paid in full.
--Perhaps offer partial payment now, the rest to follow...again, on an
--Make them aware of your circumstances; lost your job, but expect to
have steady income soon because XYZ is about to happen.
--Assure them that this is a one-time event, and that future monthly
payments (on time!) won't be a problem.
--Offer to include any appropriate late charges and fees with your
next check, as a gesture of good will (not to mention a possible
obligation, by lease or by law, of yours).
Beyond that, I don't see a whole lot of options, unless you have a way
of quickly coming up with some cash, and paying to back-due rent in
full. This comes down to one human being dealing with another, and
you'll need to put your best foot forward in a tough situation, and
put the landlord at ease -- as much as you possibly can -- in terms of
your making good on your rent check.
In the course of my research, I came across two pages that might be
useful in helping you to understand the scope of the situation.
One, is this page that summarizes both the civil and criminal status
of bad checks under different state laws:
Bad Check Laws by States
and the other is a page that discusses cross-state extradition for a
bad check case that involved Arkansas:
S. Baker FULLERTON v . John McCORD
Supreme Court of Arkansas
October 21, 1999
...In April 1997, Graves Chrysler of Gibson County, Tennessee
("Graves"), received a check from Fullerton Motor Company of Arkansas
County, Arkansas ("FMC"), for purchase of a 1997 Dodge Intrepid.
Fullerton's business partner entered into thetransaction for FMC in
Tennessee. Apparently, the check was returned due to insufficient
funds. Graves instituted criminal proceedings in Tennessee. Tennessee
authorities sought information from the Arkansas Secretary of State
and determined that S. Fullerton Baker, III, was the primary person
responsible for operation of FMC in Arkansas County, Arkansas.
Pursuant to the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (Ark. Code Ann. §§
16-94-201--16-94-231), the Governor of Tennessee sent a request to the
Governor of Arkansas seeking issuance of a warrant for the arrest of
"F. Baker Fullerton, III a/k/a Baker Fullerton." The request also
sought his extradition for an act committed outside Tennessee but
which resulted in a crime being committed within Tennessee.
[NOTE: This isn't meant to frighten you, so much as to detail the
level of complexities involved, and why I consider it unlikely that
such a proceeding would be undertaken for a fairly minor matter of a
late rent check. See hagan-ga's comment below for some additional
perspective--it may not be handled as an interstate matter at all.]
I hope the information presented here is what you needed in order to
move forward with your situation.
However, please do not rate this answer if you feel there is
additional information you would like to have. Just post a Request
for Clarification to let me know what you need, and I'm at your
Best of luck with all this, and for the year ahead...
search strategy -- Google searches on: [ GA "bad check" law ] and similarly for AR