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What Not To Do: Write Bad Checks

by Adam Mack, J.D.

Hillary Stirling, research assistant


Sometimes people who are going to file bankruptcy decide that, since it’s all going to be discharged anyway, they can write bad checks without suffering any negative consequences.


Whatever one’s reasoning, there are both civil and criminal penalties associated with giving a worthless check. Civilly, the person bouncing a check can be liable “for the amount of the check, the incurred court costs, the incurred service charge, interest at the statutory rate and the costs of collection including but not limited to reasonable attorney fees, plus” up to three times the value of the check. (KSA 60-2610) Criminal charges can also be brought, depending on how much the bad check was for, how many bad checks were written, and whether or not the person writing the check made any attempt to cover it and pay the service fees. Those charges range from a class A misdemeanor to a Level 7 Felony.

Bankruptcy will not shield you from these criminal liability and may not protect you from the civil penalties. One of the few things that can’t be discharged in a bankruptcy is debt that was incurred via fraud. And, while each case is fact specific, writing a bad check is often the basis for a fraud claim.


Bankruptcy can be one path to financial freedom, but it isn’t a blank check. Those who file bankruptcy can have the debts they incurred in good faith forgiven, but the courts will not give any leeway to fraudulently incurred debts, including fraud in the form of bad checks.


These articles are for general informational use and do not constitute legal advice. Since laws change over time, it’s possible some articles are out of date and for that reason, we make no representation that the articles are fully accurate. For actual, up-to-date legal advice (including a free consultation), please contact us!