The Statute of Limitations on Bad Check Regulations

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on bad checks varies by state. A check writer can be held accountable for a check written in the state where he lives or where the check was signed. The shortest statute of limitations for bringing a case for a bad check is three years, but some states allow up to 10 years to bring a case.

State-by-State Limitations

The statute of limitations to file a claim against the writer of a bad check is three years in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming. In California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is four years; it is five years in Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and West Virginia. The statute of limitations on bad checks in Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin is six years. Rhode Island has the longest statute of limitations, at 10 years.

Civil Penalties

"Civil penalties" for writing a bad check refers to how much the account-holder is required to pay the recipient of the check. The amount varies by state from the face value of the check up to three times the amount of the check plus attorneys' fees and even damages.

Criminal Penalties

Rarely, writing a bad check can result in criminal prosecution when the check writer is regarded as having deliberately intended to defraud another person or business when writing the check. Criminal penalties include being arrested and prosecuted. Fines and possibly jail time can result if a person is found guilty.