Debts and Credit – Bad Checks – Montana
Notice of Dishonored CheckNote: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of the law of bad checks, but does contain basic and other provisions.
TITLE 27 – CIVIL LIABILITY, REMEDIES, AND LIMITATIONS
CHAPTER 1 – AVAILABILITY OF REMEDIES – LIABILITY
Part 7 – Liability
27-1-717. Issuing a bad check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order or stopping payment — civil liability — statute of limitations.
(1) A person who issues a check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order for the payment of money is liable for a service charge, as provided in subsection (2), or for damages in a civil action, as provided in subsection (3), to the payee to whom the check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order is issued, or the payee’s assignee, if the check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order is:
(a) dishonored for lack of funds or credit or because the issuer does not have an account with the drawee; or
(b) issued in partial or complete fulfillment of a valid and legally binding obligation and the issuer stops payment with the intent to fraudulently defeat a possessory lien or otherwise defraud the payee of the check.
(2) The person who issues the check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order is liable to the payee or the payee’s assignee for a service charge in an amount not greater than $30. The payee or the payee’s assignee may waive the service charge. Demand for the service charge must be made in writing by the payee or the payee’s assignee and mailed to the address shown on the check, draft, converted check, or order or to the issuer’s last-known address. The demand must state that the issuer is required to pay the value of the check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order and service charge and must state the service charge provided for in this section.
(3) The amount of damages awarded pursuant to subsection (1) must be an amount equal to the service charge plus the greater of $100 or three times the amount for which the check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order was issued. However, damages may not exceed the value of the check, draft, converted check, electronic funds transfer, or order by more than $500.
(4) The remedy provided by subsection (3) is available only if:
(a) the payee or the payee’s assignee has made the written demand required in subsection (2) not less than 10 days before commencing the action; and
(b) the issuer has failed to tender an amount of money equal to the amount demanded under subsection (2) prior to the commencement of the action.
(5) The remedy provided by this section:
(a) may be pursued notwithstanding the provisions of 27-1-312;
(b) may be pursued whether or not a criminal penalty is sought under 45-6-316 or any other statute providing a criminal penalty; and
(c) does not affect the obligation of the issuer provided for in 30-3-423 to pay the amount of the draft. However, in case of any inconsistency with the provisions of Title 30, chapter 3, the provisions of this section apply.
(6) Upon introduction by the payee or the payee’s assignee of evidence sufficient to establish the fact of mailing as required under subsection (2), the failure to receive the written demand is not a defense to the action allowed under subsection (3). The statute of limitations for the liability created under this section is 6 years from the date of the demand under subsection (2).
(7) This section applies to all checks, drafts, converted checks, electronic funds transfers, and orders, including those electronically presented for payment.
(8) Making partial payments of amounts owed under this section or entering into an agreement for paying in whole or in part amounts owed under this section does not waive any right that the payee or the payee’s assignee may have under this section. Once a demand required under this section is made, the demand is not required to be repeated upon partial payment of amounts owed under this section
45-6-316. Issuing a bad check.
(1) A person commits the offense of issuing a bad check when the person issues or delivers a check or other order upon a real or fictitious depository for the payment of money knowing that it will not be paid by the depository.
(2) If the offender has an account with the depository, failure to make good the check or other order within 5 days after written notice of nonpayment has been received by the issuer is prima facie evidence that the offender knew that it would not be paid by the depository.
(3) A person convicted of issuing a bad check shall be fined not to exceed $1,500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both. If the offender has engaged in issuing bad checks that are part of a common scheme or if the value of any property, labor, or services obtained or attempted to be obtained exceeds $1,500, the offender shall be fined not to exceed $50,000 or be imprisoned in the state prison for any term not to exceed 10 years, or both.
History: En. 94-6-309 by Sec. 1, Ch. 513, L. 1973; R.C.M. 1947, 94-6-309; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 198, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 581, L. 1983; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 383, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 616, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 397, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 473, L. 2009.