Bad Checks

What Bad Checks Are

A bad check filing is a criminal case. A “bad check” is one issued to you that was deposited in a bank within 30 days from the date of its issuance, and was subsequently returned to you and stamped or flagged by the bank for non-payment due to:

  • Account Closed
  • Insufficient Funds
  • No Account
  • Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF)

Issuance of stop-payments or other direct refusal of payments by the issuer or its bank upon your presentation of the check for payment may also be appropriate for filing a bad check claim. There is no monetary limit on how much the bad check is written for.


As in any criminal filings, prosecution (if any) will be performed only by the Office of the Criminal District Attorney of Denton County. If your intent is to pursue your claim on your own, then you should consider filing a civil case rather than initiating a criminal case. You are encouraged to seek competent, independent legal advice on how you should proceed if you have any questions.


The filing of a bad check criminal claim can be made either by delivering your claim to this Justice Court or filing your claim directly with the Denton County District Attorney’s Office Hot Checks Section. If you choose to pursue a criminal claim by submitting it through the Justice Court, your claim will be delivered by this Court to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office for any further action, if any, to be taken. Follow-up on your bad check case shall only be with the Denton County District Attorney’s Office.

Bad check claims (for other than court-ordered child support) may be prosecuted as Class C misdemeanors punishable by fine only (PC 32.41), and the fine may not exceed $500. Restitution can also be awarded within certain monetary limits (PC 45.041, 45.051). Bad check filings may be pursued by the District Attorney’s Office under different levels of criminal offense as a Theft by Check under PC 31.06.

Assistant District Attorney Discretion

As in any criminal matter, your case will be subject to the sole discretion of the Assistant District Attorney (ADA) assigned to your case. Whether to prosecute the case and how to proceed in any phase of your case if the ADA determines that it will prosecute the matter. At all times, your communications concerning the progress of your case will be conducted only through the ADA or the ADA’s representative and not through this Court.

The Court exercises no independent evaluation or assistance to you in your case, including whether to prosecute, to dismiss, or to proceed under any different conditions other than how you filed your claim. Notices from the court will only involve usual and customary independent communications to the parties as are consistent with other cases that are set on the court’s docket.