Every time a merchant accepts a check in good faith, he / she expects to realize a profit and in return extends the customer a convenience. When that check is returned for reasons of, “insufficient funds” or “account closed”, the merchant not only suffers the loss of the expected profit, but he / she also loses the cost of the service or the item provided and also incurs an extra cost in accounting and collection fees. These costs are ultimately passed on to the consumer.

TEXAS LAW:

In Texas, it is unlawful to write a worthless check under Sections 31.06 and 32.41 of the Penal Code. These statutes deal with the direct exchange of a worthless check for goods and services and the mere introduction of a worthless check into commerce. The law allows anyone who has received a worthless check, regardless of the amount, to file charges with their local Justice Of The Peace.

  •  The Justice of the Peace then issues a warrant of arrest, which is sent to the Constable.
  •  The Constable’s Department subsequently has a Criminal Warrant Division that investigates and locates    the offender and places the offender in custody.
  •  The offender then goes before the Justice of the Peace, who attempts to arrange restitution and payment  of a fine.
  1. Make sure the date is correct.
  2. Make sure that the written dollar amount matches the numerical dollar amount.
  3. Look for the routing numbers on the check.
  4. Verify with the check writer, that the address and phone number printed on the check are correct.
  5. Make sure the check writer signs the check in front of you.
  6. MAKE SURE THE CHECK WRITER’S SIGNATURE IS LEGIBLE.
  7. Beware of starter checks with low numbers 100-200. 90% of all hot checks are written in this series.
  8. All checks should have at least one perforated edge. ONLY government checks are smooth on all sides.
  9. The numbers at the bottom of the check are a dull, flat black. The numbers are never glossy or reflect light.
  1. Low number starter checks.
  2. Out of town checks.
  3. Nervous behavior on the part of the check writer.        
  4. Customers that try to rush the transaction, or those who come in at closing time.
  5. Purchases made without regard to color, size, style or price.
  6. Customers who try to distract you during the transaction with excessive talking, children, etc.
  7. Customers who have passed more than on a check, for large dollar amounts, in the same day.
  8. Customers who have a blank check, and don’t have the check book.

Remember, always to record all information on the face of the check:

  1. The eight (8) digit Texas Driver’s License number of the check writer.
  2. The name of the person accepting the check.
  3. THE CHECK WRITER’S HOME AND WORK TELEPHONE NUMBERS.
  4. Record the physical descriptors from the license, if time permits.
  1. Checks that have been held for thirty (30) days before being presented for payment to the bank.*
  2. Checks on garnished accounts. *
  3. Checks involved with involuntary bankruptcy. *

 * NOTE:  There are exceptions depending on funds availability, the date the check was written, or if the maker of the check knew his / her account was frozen when the check was written.


WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU NEVER ACCEPT:

  1. Counter checks.
  2. Out of State checks.
  3. Pre-signed blank checks.        
  4. Third party checks.
  5. Post-dated / hold checks.

HOW TO FILE CHARGES ON A WORTHLESS CHECK

PRELIMINARY STEPS:

Remember: There is NO charge of cost to you for filling charges.

  1. TEN (10) DAY DEMAND LETTER: Send a ten-day Demand Letter to the writer of the check, send to the last known address, by certified mail with return receipt requested.
  2. The ten-day notice MUST advise the maker that his / her check has been returned.
  3. That, he / she has ten days to make restitution before legal action is taken.

See back page for suggested style for a ten day notice.

  1. NOTE the name and location of the person who accepted the check.
  2. MAKE NOTES of any pertinent information you may have on the writer of the check such as;
  3. EMPLOYMENT, Physical Description, Drivers license number, etc.
  4. DOCUMENT, what was purchased with the check.

What to take to the judge’s office:

  1. The signed receipt or the unopened returned letter, whichever has been returned by the Post Office.
  2. The original check.
  3. All pertinent information that you have accumulated on the maker of the check.
 Location of Precinct 2 Justice Courts:  
Judge JO ANN DELGADO Judge GEORGE RISNER
10851 Scarsdale, Suite 102 101 S. Richey, Suite B
Houston, Texas 77089 Pasadena, Texas 77506
Phone # (281) 481-9630 Phone # (713) 920-1828

Suggested Ten Day Demand Letter