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Passing Bad Check Laws in Tennessee

Picture of a CheckWe always believe that good people make innocent mistakes without an intent to cause harm. We see this more in passing bad check prosecutions than in any other type of crime.

Usually an individual is unknowingly overdrawn on his or her account or recently closed out his or her checking account for a number of reasons and a check previously written is unpayable by the bank.

If an extended period passes, then these unpaid checks may be presented to the Shelby County Attorney General’s Office for criminal prosecution.  

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what does it mean to write a bad check?

If you are charged with the crime of passing bad checks, you should contact an experienced attorney at the Chiozza Law Firm for a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.  Per T.C.A. 39-14-121, an individual can be charged with the offense of passing bad checks if he/she:

  • Intentionally writes a check knowing there is not or will not be sufficient funds to cover the amount of the written check when presented to the bank for payment
  • Intentionally stops payment on a check for previously rendered services or goods


bad check laws in tennessee

These types of charges can cause not only personal humiliation, but if convicted, they carry harsh penalties. The crime of passing worthless or bad checks is punishable as a theft charge, per T.C.A. 39-14-105. Per this statute, a theft crime is punishable based on the following criteria:

  • Class A misdemeanor for theft of services or goods under $1,000
  • Class E felony for thefts over $1,000 but less than $,2500
  • Class D felony for theft of services or goods over $2,500 but less than $10,000
  • Class C felony for thefts over $10,000 but less than $60,000
  • Class B felony for theft of services or goods over $60,000 but less than $250,000
  • Class A felony for thefts over 250,000


Can i go to jail for writing a bad check?

Each of these crimes can carry jail time, depending on the severity and criminal history of the accused. Being charged with the crime of passing bad checks, just like any other misdemeanor or felony criminal matter, can cause stress, guilt, embarrassment, and confusion. Before making any decisions, you should contact an attorney you can trust.




At the Chiozza Law Firm, we confidentially walk you through the legal process while doing our best to have the case dismissed or limit the punishment and public record of a conviction. We guarantee we will handle your criminal defense case in a confidential and respectful manner, all for a reasonable fee that will allow you to fight your case while also tending to your family and work obligations.

To schedule a free consultation, please call 901-526-9494 or email Brian Chiozza, at brian@chiozzalaw.com for more information on our services.



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Posted by Brian Chiozza at 1:50 PM
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