Theft by Check is simply a specific application of the general Theft statute under Penal Code Sec. 31.03. To charge and convict an individual of a Theft by Check, the State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) unlawful appropriation, and (2) intent to deprive the owner of the property. Generally, an unlawful appropriation involves the taking of property without the owner’s effective consent. Theft by Check involves an additional accusation that the defendant utilized a “bad check” in the commission of the offense.
Penal Code Sec. 31.06 defines what amounts to presumptive evidence on the element of intent, and includes the following scenarios: (1) the issuer had no account with the bank, (2) the check bounced, and after being notified (in a very specific fashion) the issuer failed to compensate the check holder, (3) under a specific set of circumstances, the check issuer ordered the bank to stop payment on a check.
Typically, upon receiving an accusation of Theft by Check, the district attorney will work as a collection entity in lieu of filing of a criminal case. In this type of scenario, a Theft by Check case is filed only when collection attempts by the district attorney prove unfruitful. Even in cases where the district attorney does file a case, a criminal attorney can push the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a simple Class C Issuance of a Bad Check and possibly resolve the matter in a way which avoids a permanent record upon payment of restitution.
Because a Theft by Check charge can leave a serious blemish on a person’s criminal history, these sorts of matters should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with Theft by Check, contact one of our attorneys today to discuss your case.