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FAQs

Bad Checks

Penal Code Section 476(a) makes the issuing or passing of a bad check with the intent to defraud a crime. Depending upon the number or amounts, it can be a felony or a misdemeanor.

Definition: Any person who for himself or as the agent or representative of another or as an officer of a corporation, willfully, with intent to defraud, makes or draws or utters or delivers any check, or draft or order upon any bank or depository, or person, or firm, or corporation, for the payment of money, knowing at the time of such making, drawing, uttering or delivering that the maker or drawer or the corporation has not sufficient funds in, or credit with said bank or depository, or person, or firm, or corporation, for the payment of such check, draft, or order and all other checks, drafts, or orders upon such funds then outstanding, in full upon its presentation, although no express representation is made with reference thereto, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison.

What To Do If You Receive A Bad Check

If you should receive a bad check contact:

District Attorney's Bad Check Program
118 E. Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 568-2310

If you have any questions regarding your account, contact the office at (805) 568-2310 between the hours of 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM.

It is a prerequisite for eligibility to the program that the payee first make at least one attempt to collect on the check. Do not make any civil agreement to collect the funds as that could invalidate the case.

We will accept all NSF checks for any amount, except the following:

  • Checks over six month old.
  • Post-dated, up-dated, or checks where partial payment has been received.
  • Rent checks where there is a civil dispute.
  • Two-party checks.
  • Agreement-to-hold checks.
  • Payroll checks are handled by the Labor Standards Enforcement Bureau. (805) 963-1438
  • Warrants and checks issued by a government agency.
  • Checks which the holder has first given to any private collection agency.
  • Stop payment checks as to which there were sufficient funds on deposit to pay said checks if payment was stopped after issuance/passing. This act may constitute a theft and other resources may be available. Consult your local law enforcement agency or Small Claims Advisor at (805) 568-2984.

Non-Coverage

This program also does not cover:

  • Forgery cases.
  • The making of a fictitious check.
  • Receiving or possession of a false instrument.
  • Out-of-state checks.
  • Prior to making the report, try to gather all original documents and any documentation and information applicable to the suspect.
Remember: These types of cases may still warrant referral to your local law enforcement agency.

Paying a Bad Check

If you need to pay a bad check, send money order or cashier's check only to:

District Attorney's Bad Check Program
118 E. Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

If you have any questions regarding your account, contact the office at (805) 568-2310 between the hours of 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM.

Walk-in hours are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.