James K. Minick

James K. Minick

Writing a worthless check may seem like a simple offense, but this crime carries with it some serious consequences. Since these offenses are commonly associated with obtaining goods without paying for them, the law closely associates these crimes with larceny and theft. Due to the fact that determining whether a check actually has the sufficient funds required for payment normally takes several days, there is a public policy interest in punishing individuals who intentionally lead on victims for an extended period of time in improperly believing they have been paid for their goods or services. Additionally, a commonly unknown aspect of worthless check offenses is that the court must order that repeat offenders  not maintain a checking account for up to three years.

The crimes listed below outline all the required elements of each offense and the punishments that an individual faces upon conviction. In order to obtain a conviction, the State must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Worthless Checks – Making or Uttering

Elements

A person is guilty if they:

  1. Make and deliver
  2. A check or draft
  3. Without having sufficient funds or credit with the bank for the check or draft to be paid and
  4. Knowing that there are insufficient funds or credit available for the payment

Punishment

If a person is guilty of making or uttering a worthless check, under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-107(d)(1) they are guilty of:

  • A Class 2 misdemeanor if the check is for $2,000 or less
  • A Class I felony if the check is for more than $2,000
  • For a fourth or subsequent conviction, the offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor

Additionally, for a repeat offender on their fourth offense, the judge must order that the offender not maintain a checking account for three years.

Worthless Check on a Nonexistent Account

Elements

A person is guilty if they:

  1. Make and deliver
  2. A check or draft
  3. Drawn on a nonexistent account
  4. Knowing that the check was drawn on a nonexistent account

Punishment

If a person is guilty of writing a worthless check on a nonexistent account, they are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-107(d)(3).

Worthless Check on a Closed Account

Elements

A person is guilty if they:

  1. Make and deliver
  2. A check or draft
  3. Drawn on an account
    1. That had been closed by the person who wrote the check or draft before the check or draft was written or
    2. That the person who wrote the check or draft knew to have been closed by the bank or depository before the check or draft was written
    3. Knowing that the check was drawn on such an account

Punishment

If a person is guilty of writing a worthless check on a closed account, they are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-107(d)(4).

Obtaining Property for a Worthless Check

Elements

A person is guilty if they:

  1. Make and deliver to another a check, draft, or order of any kind dawn on a bank, person, firm, or corporation in which the person has no money, and
  2. The person has made no arrangements for payment or acceptance of the check, and
  3. The check is not paid on presentation to the bank, and
  4. The person thereby obtains money, credit, goods, wares, or any other thing of value
  5. With the intent to cheat and defraud the other person

Punishment

If a person is guilty of obtaining property for a worthless check, they are guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor under N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-106.

Obtaining Property by False Pretenses

Elements

A person is guilty if they:

  1. Make a representation of a past or existing fact or a future event
  2. That is false and
  3. Is calculated and intended to deceive and
  4. Does in fact deceive another person, and
  5. The person thereby obtains, or attempts to obtain, money, property, services, or some other thing of value from that other person

A person may be guilty even if the person who gives up the items does not suffer any type of economic loss. Also, an attempt to commit this offense is treated in the same manner as actually completing the offense.

Punishment

If a person is guilty of obtaining property by false pretenses, they are guilty of a Class H felony under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-100. If the property taken is worth $100,000 or more, then the defendant is guilty of a Class C felony under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-100.

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