In the event you accept a check which is returned to you by the bank due to insufficient funds or account closed reasons, you may be unable to criminally prosecute the maker of the check unless you have followed the requirements listed below. Because the District Attorney's Office and/or the City Attorney's office will not prosecute check offenders unless these guidelines are followed, the Hobbs Police Department will not accept such complaints from merchants or individuals without compliance.
Please thoroughly familiarize yourself with these requirements before accepting a bank check. Failure to do so will negate your option to criminally prosecute writers of "bad checks".
Ask for photographic identification. A driver's license, state issued I.D. or other government issued card is preferred. More than one source of identification should be asked for if the passer does not present I.D. bearing a recognizable photograph. Make sure you know who is passing the check.
The type of identification, complete with identifying numbers, should be written on the document by the person accepting the check who should also place his/her initials on the check.
The receiver must be able to identify the person passing the check in court. This can be accomplished by adopting a policy of requiring I.D. on each check received. In the event the receiver cannot remember the face of the giver because of the passage of time, he or she can testify that I.D. was required to confirm that the passer and the photo matched.
If the bank returns the check marked "insufficient funds" or "account closed", send a written notice to the address given on the check. The letter should be sent by CERTIFIED MAIL, Return Receipt Requested. Suggested letter examples are available on request. NOTE: It is a violation of law to include in the notice a threat to institute criminal proceedings unless payment is made within a specified period of time.
If the check writer does not pay full restitution within three (3) business days or if the returned letter is marked unclaimed, addressee unknown, or otherwise undeliverable, contact the Hobbs Police Department should you choose to prosecute the check writer criminally.
If you are only seeking restitution, you or your attorney may file a civil action with the Magistrate Court. Notification of a law enforcement agency is not necessary.
Should the check be marked "forgery" or "irregular signature", this is a different crime classification. You should contact the Police Department immediately.
The Office of the District Attorney and the Office of the City Attorney will not accept for prosecution complaints on the following checks:
- Checks with no identification or improper identification.
- Checks where partial payment has been accepted, regardless of the amount.
- Post-dated checks or checks you agreed to hold until deposits are made.
- Checks given in payment for good previously delivered.
- Two-party checks (Checks issued by one person to another, endorsed and tendered to be cashed or used as payment).
- Checks held longer than (90) days unless there is an existing active case in the District Attorney's Office.
- Out of State Checks. (Note: The D.A.'s office will allow checks from Gaines, Yoakum, or Andrews Co. Texas).
If you have any unanswered question, please contact the HOBBS POLICE DEPARTMENT at 575-397-9265.