Non-Sufficient Funds: Michigan’s Bad Check Laws


Lansing Michigan Non Sufficient Funds Bad Checks Defense Lawyer

Under Michigan law, it is illegal to present a check or bank draft as payment if you know there are not enough funds in the bank account it is drawn on to cover the payment or if the account is overdrawn. It is also illegal if you write a check on an account that you know is closed or does not exist. Penalties are determined by the amount of the checks.


  • Less than $100—up to 93 days in jail
  • $100-499—up to one year in jail
  • $500 or more—up to two years in prison and/or a fine of $2,000 or three times the value of the check (if the amount of the check is greater than $2,000)
  • Three or more bad checks in a 10-day period—up to two years in prison and/or $500 fine

Civil Damages

In addition to any criminal penalties, the victim can also sue the defendant in civil court for damages. The victim first needs to demand payment from the defendant. If the defendant does not pay within the statutory timeframe, the victim may sue the defendant for the amount of the check, any damages the bad check has caused, and a fine up to double the amount of the check.

Defenses to Writing a Bad Check

  • You didn’t write or present the check (i.e. someone else forged your name)
  • You believed the account was open or had sufficient funds (circumstantial evidence of your knowledge that the account was closed or had insufficient funds would be bank notices of account closure or overdraft)
  • The person you presented the check to accepted it knowing that the account was closed or had insufficient funds

Bad Check Restitution Program

Many first time offenders qualify for diversion programs that will keep the matter off their public record upon successful completion. Each court has their own different criteria for diversion including residential requirements and a lack of criminal history. Diversion is generally not available for more serious crimes like violent crimes. The bad check restitution program usually requires that the defendant pay back the victim in a timely manner, pay a fine, attend a bad check education class, and maybe community service.

If you have been charged with non-sufficient funds or passing bad checks, you need the help of an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney. You may have defenses to present at trial. We can also help keep this off your record. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan bad check defense lawyer today!

Defending non-sufficient funds bad check charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Livingston, Barry, Washtenaw, Kent in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Brighton, Howell, Hastings, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Corunna, Durand.