Check Prosecution FAQs

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Check Prosecution Unit FAQs

How much do I pay for the District Attorney’s Office to enforce payment of my check?

Nothing! There is no cost for this service to merchants and other victims of bad checks. The Check Prosecution Unit requires the check writer to pay the full amount of the check to the victim. Bank fees and an administrative fee are paid by the check writer as well.

If I have stores in another county, can I submit the worthless checks passed at those stores?

For a check to qualify it must have been passed in Yolo County. Bad checks passed in other counties may be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for that jurisdiction. Not all jurisdictions have this type of program. Check with the local District Attorney’s Office to see if you can submit the check to them.

When will I receive the money the unit recovers?

Restitution for bad checks collected by the Check Prosecution Unit will be mailed to you with 4-6 weeks from the date the payment was made.

Why can’t I submit any check that was refused by the bank?

Certain checks are not eligible for the Check Prosecution Unit. Some of these are considered civil matters (not a criminal offense). Counterfeit or forged checks are considered more serious criminal matters and the check writer is not eligible for a pretrial diversion program and must face prosecution. Other worthless checks are impossible to prosecute because proper identification was not taken at the time of the transaction or for other similar reasons.

Note: If you are unsure whether a check qualifies for the Check Prosecution Unit, submit it anyway. If the check does not qualify, it will be returned with an explanation of why it did not qualify.

What can I do about worthless checks that don’t qualify for the Check Prosecution Unit?

Checks that fall outside of the boundaries of the Unit, usually take one of two possible paths. If the check is considered part of a civil matter, you can pursue the check writer in small claims court, through a collection agency, or with the help of a private attorney. If it is an obvious criminal matter (for example, a counterfeit or forged check) it should be immediately referred to the police.

What do I do if I think a check is forged?

Forged checks should be immediately submitted to your Police Department or Sheriff’s Office.

Why do I have to contact the check writer first?

California law does not require that the victim make an attempt to get restitution before referring the check to the District Attorney’s Office. Nonetheless, it is just good business practice to give a check writer an opportunity to make a check good, before you submit it to the District Attorney’s Office. A sample Courtesy Notice is provided on this site.

Why can’t the District Attorney’s Office take all the non-complying check writers to court?

Checks are a legal document. As such, they must be complete and the various elements such as signature, address, and other identification must be verifiable. If one or another part of a check is missing or cannot be verified, it becomes difficult or impossible to successfully prosecute the case. Refer to "Tips for Handling Checks" on the main page for the Check Prosecution Unit.

Can I get reimbursement for a bank service fee from the Unit?

Yes. The Check Prosecution Unit can require the check writer to pay a service fee (up to $10 per check) to cover bank charges a victim incurs in handling the worthless check.

What can I do about a worthless check that is returned because the Unit can’t prosecute the case?

There are several reasons that the Check Prosecution Unit might not be able to enforce restitution: the check writer has moved and can not be located, the check writer has died and the check is a part of an estate settlement, or insufficient identification was taken at the time of transaction. If we do not receive any additional information about the check or check writer, the check will be returned to you. At that point, you may pursue the matter through small claims court, a collection agency, or with the help of a private attorney.