25254 Garrett Highway Suite 4
McHenry, MD 21541

68 East Main Street
Frostburg, Maryland 21532

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Bad Checks

Check fraud involves obtaining property or services by passing, or using as payment, a bad check, also called a non-sufficient funds (NSF) check. Under Maryland law, passing an NSF check—one without adequate funds to cover the value of the check or one for which no account exists—can be either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the value of the property or services obtained by passing the check. The following table lists the maximum fine and jail sentence you face if charged with passing an NSF check:

Value of Property or Services

Type of Charge

Maximum Fine

Maximum Jail Sentence

$500 or more



15 years

Less than $500



18 months

Less than $100



90 days

A fine of any amount imposed by a court



60 days


In addition, you may also be required to either restore the property to the owner or pay restitution for the value of the property or services received. You generally have 10 days to make good on the check, that is, to provide payment for the property or services received by passing the check. Paying for goods or services with a post-dated NSF check, because the act does not involve a present act of fraud, is generally not a criminally punishable offense. In addition to criminal sanctions, you also face civil penalties, as well.