Hot Check Division
Every year, millions of dollars are stolen from businesses and individuals throughout Texas by thieves issuing Hot Checks. Committing theft by issuing a bad check gives the offender a head start on the authorities as it can be several weeks before the crime is detected by the victim. The 79th Judicial District Attorney's Office is committed to catching these thieves and has developed a program to recover the losses suffered by our area victims.
Limitations to the Hot Check Program
Many people think that every worthless check is a criminal offense. This is not true. Below you will find a list of of checks that, as a general rule, CANNOT BE ACCEPTED by the District Attorney's Office for criminal prosecution:
1. Post Dated or "Stop Payment" checks
2. Old checks upon which the statute of limitations has run (Normally two years)
3. Checks where partial payment has been accepted
4. Two party checks
5. Checks presented outside of Jim Wells/Brooks County or for services performed outside Jim Wells/Brooks County
6. Checks presented in payment of debts, loans or charge accounts
7. Checks where no property or services were given in immediate exchange
8. Forged or altered checks. (These checks should be filed as forgery cases)
9. Checks received through the mail
10. Checks not presented to the bank within 30 days from the date written
11. Checks given in furtherance of any illegal activity
12. The check must be for a felony amount of $1,500.00 or more. (Misdemeanor amounts are prosecuted by the County Attorney's Office.)
If you accept one of the types of checks listed above you can check with the District Attorney's Office to see if an exception exists whereby it can be accepted for prosecution. If the check that you accepted cannot be prosecuted, you may still have certain remedies available to you under the Civil Laws of this State and you may want to consult with an attorney.
Procedures for filing a Hot Check(See Texas Penal Code Section 31.06)
1. The check must be presented to the bank within 30 days of the date of issuance even if it is known that the check will not be honored.
2. Notice must be given to the check writer that the check was not honored as well as the reason why it was not honored. The notice must also include a demand for payment within ten business days of receipt of the notice letter.
3. The notice must be sent by registered or certified mail with proof of receipt requested.
4. If the check is not paid within 10 business days after the notice is received then it may be brought to the District Attorney's Office for filing. The District Attorney's Office must be provided with the following:
A. The original check
B. The original return receipt from the notice letter
C. A copy of the notice letter
D. Full name and other information of the person who accepted the check
E. Specific identification of the check writer such as their drivers license number
F. Specific information as to what the check was for
5. If you have any question about a potential "Hot Check" or if you need any assistance whatsoever, please contact Margarito "Maggie" Perez, Program Director of the Hot Check Division at the District Attorney's Office