Bad Checks

Personal Responsibility

New Jersey Statue 2C: 21-5, states that a person who issues or passes a bad check or similar sight order for payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, commits an offense. An issuer is presumed to know that the check or money order (other than a post dated check or order) would not be paid, if:

  • The issuer had no account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued; or
  • Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, upon presentation within 30 days after issue, and after the issuer failed to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal or after notice has been sent to the issuer's last known address. Any person can give notice of refusal to the issuer orally or in writing in any reasonable manner.


It is a crime of the 2nd degree if the check or money order is over $75,000

  • A crime of the 3rd degree if the check or money order is $1,000 or more but is less than $75,000
  • A crime of the 4th degree if the check or money order is $200 or more but is less than $1,000
  • A Disorderly Person offense if the check or money order is less than $200

Theft By Deception

If a person puts a "stop payment" on a check it is not covered under the "bad check " statue of NJS 2C: 21-5. The statue of "theft by deception", 2C: 20-4, may be applicable but the proof beyond a reasonable doubt would have to be shown that that person was creating a deception or deceiving someone. The other remedy would be to file a Civil Court compliant against the person(s) involved.

Returned Checks

Remember if a check is returned by the drawee (bank) for "Insufficient Funds", please make sure that you contact the person within 30 days either orally or in writing. You have to give the person 10 days to make good on the check before a compliant can be signed.

Once a compliant is signed and if the check amount is an indictable offense of the 2nd , 3rd, or 4th degree, the complaint will be sent to the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office, for review. The complaint may stay to be heard before a grand jury for indictment or the complaint can be remanded to be heard before the Municipal Court Judge. All disorderly person offenses are heard before the Municipal Court Judge.

If any resident wishes to pursue a complaint regarding a "bad check" or needs further information, please contact the Holmdel Township Detective Bureau at 732-946-4400.