You may request the prosecuting attorney, under Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-37-302, to criminally prosecute the writers of insufficient funds or closed account checks. You begin the prosecution by bringing the unpaid check along with the completed affidavit for warrant for arrest to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Attn: Hot Check Department, 301 N. Center Street, Suite 301, Lonoke, AR 72086.
Steps to Prosecuting a Hot Check
1. Mail Notice to the Check Writer – We begin the prosecution by mailing notice to the check writer that a check was returned unpaid by their bank. The drawer or maker of the check is directed to make payment of the check amount, your merchant fee and the prosecutor’s processing fee directly to the prosecuting attorney within 10 days from the mailing of the notice. If the check writer makes restitution within 10 days, we stop the criminal prosecution. If the check writer attempts to make payment to you, you are asked to direct the check writer to this office.
2. Obtain Warrant – If after 10 days we have not received full payment and you have provided our office with all information needed for prosecution we will send your check to the appropriate court for a warrant.
- Felony Checks: If the check is a felony (over $1,000 or aggregated over $1,000) a warrant will then be issued for the arrest of the maker or drawer of the check. Subsequent to arrest, you may be requested to testify at a preliminary hearing and again at the trial of the case in Circuit Court.
- Misdemeanor Checks: If the check is for less than $1,000, the offense will be a misdemeanor, and the warrant will be issued from the appropriate district court.
- Non-Prosecutable Checks: At times this office discovers that a check writer is not able to be prosecuted after we have sent the required notification letter. Once we positively determine that a check is not prosecutable, we will take no further action if the check writer does not make restitution. Possible non-prosecutable checks are:
- Checks that do not show payee, date, amount and signature.
- Checks that are postdated when accepted.
- Checks that are asked to be held when accepted.
- Checks outside the Statute of Limitations (12 months – misdemeanor; 3 years felony).
- Two party checks.
- Checks where the identification of the check writer cannot be made.
- Checks where a stop payment order has been filed.
- Checks suspected as being forgeries.
- Checks not written or passed in Lonoke County.
- Checks that are altered. Some of the above may be prosecutable under other statutes such as forgery or fraud. Please contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and file a report if you think another statute may apply.