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Is Writing A Bad Check Illegal In New York City?

According to the New York State Penal Law §190.05, a person commits larceny by committing the crime of issuing a bad check when the drawer writes and hands over a check while knowing that he or his principal does not have sufficient funds to cover it.

Like most criminal charges, the police need to have reasonable suspicion that the drawer has had an intention to write a check that would be refused by a bank upon deposit.  Of course there are certain instances where a bad check was issued but criminal charges were not filed.

What if I claim that I had intended to deposit the necessary funds to cover the check?


Statutory law allows the drawer a 10-day grace period to the drawer or a person acting on his behalf to satisfy the amount of the check. If the defendant passed the 10-day grace period, he might be presumed to have an intention to defraud.

Although the issuance of a bad check is a class B misdemeanor it is often connected to a grander fraud of check kiting, which takes advantage of the bank’s float period to falsely inflate the balance of a checking account in order to allow written checks that would otherwise bounce to clear. In such cases, many defendants who are charged with the issuance of a bad check are subpoenaed to have their bank records reviewed by Federal or New York State forensic accountants, and other legal officials.

If that is the case, you may be suspected of committing a more serious crime than a class B misdemeanor. We advise that you pick up your phone and call a criminal defense attorney immediately before responding to subpoena.

At Joseph Potashnik & Associates, we have a panel of some of the most skilled New York City criminal defense attorneys specializing in various areas of white-collar crime defenses.

If you have been charged or arrested for issuing a bad check, or bank fraud in New York City, then call our office at (212) 577-6677 to get professional legal advice.