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Maryland Bad Check Laws

You want that brand new iPhone, but last time you checked your bank account you were about $700 short of making that dream a reality. Perhaps you have the "brilliant" idea of going to the store and writing a check knowing that you don’t have the funds to cover the amount. You’ll pay it back eventually right? Or at the worst your bank will cover it, right? Your cousin did it last month and he didn’t seem to get into much trouble. You also want those new Prada sunglasses you saw actress Scarlett Johansson wearing not too long ago.

So, you make your way to the mall and just start spending money you don’t actually have --only you don’t stop and now you’ve racked up quite a string of fraudulent checks. In the most basic sense, if you issue a check knowing you have "insufficient funds" to cover it, you can be guilty of a crime. Specifically, "insufficient funds" means any of the following are true:

  • No account
  • No funds
  • Only a closed account
  • Funds that total an amount less than the amount required to cover the check

Maryland Bad Check Laws in Brief

The charges and penalties under Maryland’s bad check laws are below. There are several ways a person can be in violation of the law, therefore it’s important to check with an attorney who is experienced with check fraud if you have been charged with the crime.


Md. Ann. Code §8-101 to 8-107 (Bad Checks)


  • Felony: If the property or services has a value of $500 or more, a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 15 years, or both;
  • Misdemeanor If the property or services has a value of less than $500, a fine not exceeding $100 or imprisonment not exceeding 18 months, or both

Civil Penalties

A merchant or check holder may claim civil penalties separate from any criminal penalties against the accused. The civil penalties for writing a bad check include making restitution for the amount due, plus a fee and up to two times the check amount, not to exceed $1,000.

The check holder may claim damages 10 days after mailing a notice of dishonor to the last known address of the check issuer.The merchant must file an Application for Statement of Charges for Bad Check.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Maryland Codes and Court of Appeals Opinions

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about Maryland’s bad check laws, click on the following links below to learn more:

Accused of Passing a Bad Check? Contact a Local Attorney Today

As you can see, if you attempt to bounce a check in Maryland, you will not only be stuck in criminal court, but you'll also be dealing with civil liability. There are typically a few possible defenses to these types of cases, best left to a skilled defense attorney. Don't delay; if you're facing charges of passing a bad check, contact a Maryland criminal defense attorney today.

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