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Issuing Worthless Checks

Issuing Worthless Checks

Louisiana Revised Statute 14:71

A.(1)(a) Issuing worthless checks is the issuing, in exchange for anything of value, whether the exchange is contemporaneous or not, with intent to defraud, of any check, draft, or order for the payment of money upon any bank or other depository, knowing at the time of the issuing that the offender has not sufficient credit with the bank, or other depository for the payment of such check, draft, or order in full upon its presentation.

            (b) This Section shall apply to a check, draft, or order tendered for satisfaction, in whole or in part, of payments due on installment contracts, open accounts, or any other obligation for which the creditor has authorized periodic payments or the extension of time in which to pay.

            (c) This provision shall apply to a check, draft, or order for the payment of money given for a motor vehicle when such payment is conditioned upon delivery of documents necessary for transfer of a valid title to the purchaser.

            (d) For purposes of this Section, an open account shall include accounts where checks are tendered as payment:

            (i) In advance of receipt, in whole or in part, for telecommunication facilities or services.

            (ii) For deposits, prepayments, or payments for the lease or rent of a rental motor vehicle, pursuant to a lease or rental agreement.

            (e) This Section shall apply to a check, draft, or order tendered for satisfaction, in whole or in part, of a state tax obligation. For purposes of this Section, “state tax obligation” means a state tax, interest, penalty, or fee, or any contract, installment agreement, or other obligation arising out of such obligation.

            (f) For purposes of this Section, any check, draft, or order tendered for payment of any tax, fee, fine, penalty, or other obligation to the state or any of its political subdivisions shall be considered issuing a check, draft, or order in exchange for anything of value.

            (2) The offender’s failure to pay a check, draft, or order, issued for value, within ten days after notice of its nonpayment upon presentation has been deposited by certified mail in the United States mail system addressed to the issuer thereof either at the address shown on the instrument or the last known address for such person shown on the records of the bank upon which such instrument is drawn or within ten days after delivery or personal tender of the written notice to said issuer by the payee or his agent, shall be presumptive evidence of his intent to defraud.

B. Issuing worthless checks is also the issuing, in exchange for anything of value, whether the exchange is contemporaneous or not, with intent to defraud, of any check, draft, or order for the payment of money or the issuing of such an instrument for the payment of a state tax obligation, when the offender knows at the time of the issuing that the account designated on the check, draft, or order has been closed, or is nonexistent or fictitious, or is one in which the offender has no interest or on which he has no authority to issue such check, draft, or order.

C.(1) Whoever commits the crime of issuing worthless checks, when the amount of the check or checks is twenty-five thousand dollars or more, shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than twenty years, or may be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or both.

            (2) When the amount of the check or checks is five thousand dollars or more, but less than twenty-five thousand dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.

            (3) When the amount of the check or checks is more than one thousand dollars, but less than five thousand dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or may be fined not more than three thousand dollars, or both.

            (4) When the amount of the check or checks is less than one thousand dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned for not more than six months, or may be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both. If the offender in such cases has been convicted of theft two or more times previously, upon any subsequent conviction he shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or may be fined not more than two thousand dollars, or both.

D. When the offender has issued more than one worthless check within a one hundred eighty-day period, the amount of several or all worthless checks issued during that one hundred eighty-day period may be aggregated to determine the grade of the offense.

E. In addition to any other fine or penalty imposed under this Section, the court shall order as part of the sentence restitution in the amount of the check or checks, plus a fifteen dollar per check service charge payable to the person or entity that initially honored the worthless check or checks, an authorized collection agency, or justice of the peace. In the event the fifteen dollar per check service charge is paid to a person or entity other than one who initially honored the worthless check or checks, the court shall also order as part of the sentence restitution equal to the amount that the bank or other depository charged the person or entity who initially honored the worthless check, plus the actual cost of notifying the offender of nonpayment as required in Paragraph (A)(2) of this Section.

F. In any prosecution for a violation of this Section, the prosecution may enter as evidence of a violation of this Section any check, draft, or order for the payment of money upon any bank or other depository which the bank or other depository has refused to honor because the person who issued the check, draft, or order did not have sufficient credit with the bank or other depository for the payment of that check, draft, or order in full upon its presentation.

G. In addition to the provisions of Subsection F of this Section, in any prosecution for a violation of this Section, the prosecution may enter as evidence of a violation of this Section any tangible copy, facsimile, or other reproduction of the check, draft, or order, or any electronic reproduction of the check, draft, or order, or any other form of the record of the check, draft, or order, provided that the tangible copy, facsimile, or other reproduction, or the electronic reproduction, or the other form of the record of the check, draft, or order has been made, recorded, stored, and reproduced in accordance with the requirements of the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, or in accordance with the requirements of the federal agency which regulates the bank or other depository, and provided that the appropriate officer of the bank or other depository has certified that the tangible copy, facsimile, or other reproduction, or the electronic copy, or the other form of the record of the check, draft, or order for the payment of money has been made, stored, and reproduced in accordance with the requirements of the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, or in accordance with the requirements of the federal agency which regulates the bank or other depository, and is a true and correct record of the transaction involving the check, draft, or order upon which the prosecution is based.

H. Repealed by Acts 2017, No. 281, §3.

I. Repealed by Acts 2017, No. 281, §3.

    Call Rusty Messer & Associates at (225) 963-9638 if you have been charged with a crime and would like to discuss your case with an experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney.

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