Google Answers Logo
View Question
 
Q: GA Bad Check Legal Question ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Question  
Subject: GA Bad Check Legal Question
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: worried513-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 11 Jan 2006 15:19 PST
Expires: 10 Feb 2006 15:19 PST
Question ID: 432198
My rent check bounced due to NSF.  What can I do to avoid criminal
charges.  I won't have the money to make the check good for 30 to 60
days.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 11 Jan 2006 16:29 PST
While bouncing a check can be a crime in some circumstances, the
occasional bounced check is not likely to result in criminal charges
in most jurisdictions.

Of greater concern is coming to agreement with your landlord as to
what happens now.  Without coming to an understanding, the landlord
may try to being eviction proceedings, and can take steps to really
wallop your credit rating.

If you haven't already, you may want to contact the landlord, explain
your situation, and let them know when they can expect to have your
rent paid in full.

You can also offer partial payment now as a sign of good faith, if
that's possible.

Let us know (a) where you are located -- city and state, and (b) what
you have done or will do regarding your landlord.

With a bit more information, perhaps we'll be able to offer some more
concrete steps you can take.


Good luck,

pafalafa-ga

Clarification of Question by worried513-ga on 11 Jan 2006 19:24 PST
I plan to move.  I am late on my rent and found out today that I have
a $2,000 utility bill.  I got a call from her attorney today who told
me to pay it today or they will begin eviction procedures.   I
immediately transferred the money I had in that account to another
account which is going to make the rent check bounce.

I need about 30 to 60 days to make the check good.  I just needed to
have as much cash available now to wait on other money I have to come
in.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 11 Jan 2006 19:39 PST
Thanks for the update.

I'm not 100% clear on what's going on, but I'm mighty impressed to
learn that anyone can rack up a $2k utility bill!

Seems you have several things you're dealing with:

1.  You're facing possible eviction, which you may or may not care
about, since you're moving anyway.

2.  Your credit record is going to get hammered, which may not seem
such a big deal, but if you ever go to borrow money (house loan, car
loan, etc) it will come back to haunt you, and can show up other
places as well.

3.  You're concerned about criminal charges.


On that latter front, deliberately writing a check and then knowingly
withdrawing funds so that the check will certainly bounce is a crime
in more than a few jurisdictions.  Oftentimes, only the most egregious
check-scam-artists are ever charged, but there's certainly no
guarantee on that.



Given the items enumerated above, what is it you would like from a
Google Answers Researcher at this point?

pafalafa-ga

Clarification of Question by worried513-ga on 12 Jan 2006 05:40 PST
I am in the credit business and I can resolve being hammered.  If you
want to know how, send me your email address and I show you.  I won't
charge you (smile).

My question is, is there anything I can do to such as making payment
arrangements or writing a letter to the landloard stating my
intentions to resolve the returned check that will legally move this
from a possible criminal action to a civil action.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 12 Jan 2006 06:33 PST
In order to provide any possible onsight on that issue, I'll need to
know what state and city you're in, and whether the landlord is in the
same state/city.


paf

Clarification of Question by worried513-ga on 12 Jan 2006 07:28 PST
I am in Atlanta, GA.  The landlord lives in Little Rock, AR but has an
Atlanta attorney representing her.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 12 Jan 2006 08:06 PST
Sorry for the ping-pong match, but I need one more piece of information.

Roughly, what is the amount of the bounced check?


paf

Clarification of Question by worried513-ga on 12 Jan 2006 10:23 PST
No problem with the Ping Pong.  I appreciate all the hard work.  The
check amount is $1,300.

Clarification of Question by worried513-ga on 14 Jan 2006 06:58 PST
I haven't heard anything from you in a coupe days.  Please let me know
your what you think about this situation.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Jan 2006 07:23 PST
I'm unclear, yet, as to whether Georgia or Arkansas or federal laws
applies in this particular case.  There may not be a clear-cut answer
to this question.


However, a few things have come to light:

--Issuing a stop check will, in many cases, get you off the hook as
far as criminal charges are concerned.  Did you do this, by any
chance?  If not, I doubt it is still an option, but you may want to
check with your bank just the same.

--In Georgia, at least, the state law calls for formal, written
notification by certified mail (from the landlord to you) that a bad
check has been received, and that re-payment is expected within 10
days.  Absent such a letter, the landlord is limited (again, only
under GA law, which may or may not apply) in the actions they can
take, or in assessing any penalty fees.  Have you been so notified?


--The amount of the check does appear to be over the limit set by most
jurisdictions for treating the bad check as a possible criminal
matter, so there doesn't appear to be an under-the-limit option in
that respect.



I'll let you know what more I find out, but it may be a few days
yet...hang in there.


paf

Clarification of Question by worried513-ga on 14 Jan 2006 09:58 PST
You are correct.  I tried to do a stop payment and could not.  My
intentions are to make this check good along with all past due rent
but its a matter of time and cash flow.

I'm not trying to cheat this woman out of her rent, I lost my job and
need time to regroup.

I really appreciate your help on this information.
Answer  
Subject: Re: GA Bad Check Legal Question
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 14 Jan 2006 13:29 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
worried513-ga,

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
consider:


--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
explicit schedule.

--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:


http://www.ckfraud.org/penalties.html
Bad Check Laws by States



and the other is a page that discusses cross-state extradition for a
bad check case that involved Arkansas:


-----
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=ar&vol=supreme/1999b/19991021/99-306&invol=2
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
service.


Best of luck with all this, and for the year ahead...


pafalafa-ga



search strategy -- Google searches on: [ GA "bad check" law ] and similarly for AR
worried513-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great reasearh and analysis.  I got $500 worth of answers for $50
bucks if I had retained an attorney which I still may do just to make
sure.  The quality of the responses was outstanding.  If I had the
money, I'd tip him/her $10.00 but with all the other cash flow
problems I have, this is not the time.  But thanks for the advice from
all concerned that contibuted.

Comments  
Subject: Re: GA Bad Check Legal Question
From: hagan-ga on 14 Jan 2006 08:55 PST
 
Paf, if I could interject --
Georgia law will apply here.  The property is located in Georgia; the
defendant is located in Georgia.  It is conceivable, although not
likely, that the landlord might bring an action in Arkansas -- IF the
final signature was placed on the lease in Arkansas -- but even so,
the Arkansas court would apply Georgia law.  Moreover, since the
landlord has engaged local counsel, I would be astonished to see an
action filed in Arkansas.  Why bother to engage Atlanta counsel if
you're going to do that?
As for Federal jurisdiction, are you thinking about a banking,
wire-fraud or similar action?  Or are you thinking about diversity
jurisdiction?  If you're thinking about Federal criminal charges for
wire fraud, then Federal law would apply, but I really don't see the
U.S. Attorney for Atlanta having nothing better to do.  And the amount
at issue doesn't rise to the level of diversity jurisdiction.  I don't
see Federal involvement here.
Anyway, I just wanted to poke my nose in and see if I could help out.  Carry on!
Subject: Re: GA Bad Check Legal Question
From: pafalafa-ga on 14 Jan 2006 13:30 PST
 
Thanks for the observation, hagan-ga.

If you have any additional perspective on the answer I posted, I'd
certainly like to hear it, and I'm sure worried513-ga would appreciate
it as well.

paf
Subject: Re: GA Bad Check Legal Question
From: pafalafa-ga on 14 Jan 2006 18:49 PST
 
Thank you so much, and best of luck with everything.

If you find there's anything else you need on this, just let me know
by posting a follow-up clarification.  I'll be sure to see it, and
will get back to you with any additional information I can offer.

Cheers,

paf

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at answers-support@google.com with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  


Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy