Mississippi Dishonored Check Law


Debts and Credit – Bad Checks – Mississippi

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of the law of bad checks, but does contain basic and other provisions.

CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PROVISIONS

Mississippi Code
TITLE 97 – CRIMES
CHAPTER 19 – FALSE PRETENSES AND CHEATS

§ 97-19-55. Bad checks and insufficient funds.

It shall be unlawful for any person with fraudulent intent:

(a) To make, draw, issue, utter or deliver any check, draft or order for the payment of money drawn on any bank, corporation, firm or person for the purpose of obtaining money, services or any article of value, or for the purpose of satisfying a preexisting debt or making a payment or payments on a past due account or accounts, knowing at the time of making, drawing, issuing, uttering or delivering said check, draft or order that the maker or drawer has not sufficient funds in or on deposit with such bank, corporation, firm or person for the payment of such check, draft or order in full, and all other checks, drafts or orders upon such funds then outstanding;

(b) To close an account without leaving sufficient funds to cover all outstanding checks written on such account.

§ 97-19-57. Bad checks; presumption of fraudulent intent; notice that check has not been paid; notice returned undelivered as evidence of intent to defraud; transactions involving motor vehicles.

(1) As against the maker or drawer thereof, the making, drawing, issuing, uttering or delivering of a check, draft or order, payment of which is refused by the drawee, shall be prima facie evidence and create a presumption of intent to defraud and of knowledge of insufficient funds in, or on deposit with, such bank, corporation, firm or person, provided such maker or drawer shall not have paid the holder thereof the amount due thereon, together with a service charge of Thirty Dollars ($30.00), within fifteen (15) days after receiving notice that such check, draft or order has not been paid by the drawee.

(2) For purposes of Section 11-7-12 [pursuing civil penalties, see below], the form of the notice provided for in subsection (1) of this section shall be sent by regular mail and shall be substantially as follows:

[ see, USLF form MS-401N ]

(3) For purposes of Section 97-19-67 [pursuing criminal penalties, see below], the form of the notice provided for in subsection (1) of this section shall be sent by certified or registered mail and shall be substantially as follows:

[ see, USLF form MS-402N ] …

(4) If any notice is returned undelivered to the sender after such notice was mailed to the address printed on the check, draft or order, or to the address given by the accused at the time of issuance of the instrument, such return shall be prima facie evidence of the maker’s or drawer’s intent to defraud.

(5) Without in any way limiting the provisions of this section, this section shall apply to a draft for the payment of money given for a motor vehicle even if such payment is conditioned upon delivery of documents necessary for transfer of a valid title to the purchaser.

CRIMINAL PROVISIONS

§ 97-19-67. Bad checks; penalties; restitution.

(1) Except as may be otherwise provided by subsection (2) of this section, any person violating Section 97-19-55, upon conviction, shall be punished as follows:

(a) For the first offense of violating said section, where the check, draft or order involved be less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), the person committing such offense shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00), nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not less than five (5) days nor more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court;

(b) Upon commission of a second offense of violating said section, where the check, draft or order involved is less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), the person committing such offense shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court;

(c) Upon commission of a third or any subsequent offense of violating said section, regardless of the amount of the check, draft or order involved, and regardless of the amount of the checks, drafts or orders involved in the prior convictions, the person committing such offense shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not less than one (1) nor more than five (5) years.

(d) Where the check, draft or order involved shall be One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) or more, the person committing such offense, whether same be a first or second offense, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not more than three (3) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. Upon conviction of a third or any subsequent offense, the person convicted shall be punished as is provided in the immediately preceding paragraph hereof.

(2) Where the conviction was based on a worthless check, draft or order given for the purpose of satisfying a pre-existing debt or making a payment or payments on a past-due account or accounts, no imprisonment shall be ordered as punishment, but the court may order the convicted person to pay a fine of up to the applicable amounts prescribed in paragraphs (1)(a)(b) and (d) of this section.

(3) In addition to or in lieu of any penalty imposed under the provisions of subsection (1) or subsection (2) of this section, the court may, in its discretion, order any person convicted of violating Section 97-19-55 to make restitution in accordance with the provisions of Sections 99-37-1 through 99-37-23 to the holder of any check, draft or order for which payment has been refused.

(4) Upon conviction of any person for a violation of Section 97-19-55, when the prosecution of such person was commenced by the filing of a complaint with the court by the district attorney under the provisions of Section 97-19-79, the court shall, in addition to any other fine, fee, cost or penalty which may be imposed under this section or as otherwise provided by law, and in addition to any order as the court may enter under subsection (3) of this section requiring the offender to pay restitution under Sections 99-37-1 through 99-37-23, impose a fee in the amount up to eighty-five percent (85%) of the face amount of the check, draft or order for which the offender was convicted of drawing, making, issuing, uttering or delivering in violation of Section 97-19-55.

(5) It shall be the duty of the clerk or judicial officer of the court collecting the fees imposed under subsection (4) of this section to monthly deposit all such fees so collected with the State Treasurer, either directly or by other appropriate procedures, for deposit in the special fund of the State Treasury created under Section 99-19-32, known as the “Criminal Justice Fund.”

(6) After the accused has complied with all terms of the statute and the complainant or victim has been paid, the district attorney’s check unit may dispose of the accused’s file after one (1) year has expired after the last audit.

CIVIL PROVISIONS

Mississippi Code
TITLE 11 – CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 7 – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE IN CIRCUIT COURTS

§ 11-7-12. Civil penalty recoverable for violation of bad check statute.

(1) If a check, draft or order is made, drawn, issued, uttered or delivered in violation of Section 97-19-55, the payee, endorser or his assignee shall be entitled to collect, in addition to the face amount of the check, draft or order, a service charge of Thirty Dollars ($30.00).

(2) In any civil action founded on a check, draft or order made, drawn, issued, uttered or delivered in violation of Section 97-19-55, the plaintiff, if he be a payee or endorser, shall be entitled to recover, in addition to the face amount of the check, draft or order, damages in the following amount:

(a) If the amount of the check, draft or order is up to and including Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00), then the additional damages shall be Thirty Dollars ($30.00);

(b) If the amount of the check, draft or order is above Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) and up to and including Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00), then the additional damages shall be fifty percent (50%) of the amount of the check, draft or order, not to exceed Fifty Dollars ($50.00), and not to be less than Thirty Dollars ($30.00);

(c) If the amount of the check, draft or order is above Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00), then the additional damages shall be twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount of the check, draft or order; and

(d) No service charge shall be payable in a civil action under this section.