CategoryFiled under: Economic Crimes

The crime of passing bad or worthless checks in Tennessee is treated and punished like theft. For instance, passing bad checks in value of $500 or less is a misdemeanor. Anything over $500 is a felony, with amounts over $1,000 and $10,000 bringing enhanced punishment. Under the law in Tennessee, it’s actually called “worthless checks.” A person commits the offense of passing bad (worthless) checks when, with fraudulent intent or knowingly, they write a check and are aware there are not sufficient funds on deposit with the bank. Additionally, it’s a crime to pass a worthless check by stopping payment with the bank after the check has been written. Under Tennessee’s bad checks law, fraudulent intent can be inferred if the person had no account with the bank at the time the check was issued, or if the bank refuses payment within 30 days after the check was issued, and the person does not make good on the payment within 10 days after getting notice. Usually these cases begin as investigations by the police’s economic crimes unit, after being notified by the bank. Usually you won’t know you’re being charged until a warrant has been issued for your arrest. If you get a call from the police about a potentially bad check you wrote, talk to a Memphis criminal attorney first. Passing bad checks in Tennessee is a serious crime that can bring all sorts of long-term consequences. If you’ve been charged with this offense, talk to Memphis economic crimes lawyer Patrick Stegall. Mr. Stegall has in-depth experience in handling money-related criminal cases, and can investigate all aspects of your case to give you the best defense possible. Contact him by phone at (901) 205-9894 or through email at

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