Bad Check Recovery Process

The following steps should be done before the St. Joseph Prosecutor's Office can take action.

Step 1: Contact the Check Writer

When you receive a bad check we strongly encourage you to contact the check writer personally. If the check writer offers to make restitution, inform them of the full amount you are owed. This is the amount of the check and any costs your bank charged for the returned check. We suggest that you accept only cash, a certified check, or a money order for restitution.

If the check writer fails to make restitution then the next step is to mail a Notice Letter to the check writer requesting payment within 10 days from the date of mailing your letter. A sample form for this Notice Letter is attached.

Step 2: Send 10 Day Notice Letter

The Notice Letter must be sent by Certified Mail with a Return Receipt Requested. You need a certified Notice letter for each check. The Notice Letter should be sent to the address printed on the check or the address given by the person in writing to the payee at the time the check was delivered.

If the check writer does not pay restitution within ten days of your Notice Letter, you may complete a Bad Check Report (PDF) and forward it to our office. Before the State can file a criminal charge, a deputy prosecutors must review and find that each and every element of Check Deception, a Class A Misdemeanor under Indiana Code 35-43-5-5, can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are unable to provide all of the information requested, the State cannot file a criminal charge.

Step 3: Complete the Bad Check Report

The Back Check Report Packet (PDF) must include:
  • Completed Bad Check Complaint Form.
  • The Original Bad Check or a Bank Certified Copy. (Photo copies will not be accepted.)
  • The original Bank Notice of a service charge for the return of the check, if any.
  • A copy of the original 10 Day Notice Letter that you mailed. However, if the letter was returned, then you must include the unopened letter. It is important that the returned envelope remain sealed.
  • The original white receipt for Certified Mail and the green Return Receipt from the Post Office.
  • A DVD/CDR/Thumb Drive containing copies of any photographs or video recorded at the time the check was presented and accepted (the media will not be returned).
  • The signed Affidavit in Support of Probable Cause Form
  • Contact Information (address and telephone number) for all necessary witnesses including:
    • The individual/employee who accepted the check
    • Any individual/employee who was present at the time the check was accepted
    • The individual/employee who created the copy of any photographs or video which was provided with the packet.

Suspect Identity

The Bad Check Complaint Form must also include the suspect's identifying information.
  • Date of Birth
  • Driver's License or State-issued identity card number
  • Social Security number
The courts will not accept a criminal charge without at least one of these identifiers.

Review Process

You should retain copies of all materials which you send to our office for your records. When we receive the bad check report a Deputy Prosecutor will review the documents to determine if a criminal charge can be filed. This process may take several weeks. During this period you may be contacted for additional information by a staff member.

Based upon the attorney's review, we may send a letter advising first time offenders that they can avoid prosecution by making immediate restitution for the check. Or we may immediately file the case if we have seen the individual before. However we proceed, you will receive a copy of the action we take.


If we send a letter to the check writer please notify our office immediately if you receive restitution for the bad check so that we can close our file on this matter. Remember to be careful about accepting a partial payment as a partial payment prevents us from prosecuting the individual check writer.