Legal Question in Criminal Law in District of Columbia

if i believe someone has taken a blank check from me can i press charges?

Asked on 3/09/14, 8:35 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Sean Hanover Hanover Law

Blank checks...

The answer to your question is twofold. First, when anyone takes something from you, without your permission, they have committed a larceny (criminal), and a trespass to chattels (civil). The criminal matter would have to be pursued by the State -- you cannot bring a criminal suit. However, you could swear out a warrant. From a civil standpoint, there is not much damage done in taking a piece of paper (a blank check). So, likely, there would not be much in the way of damages. You cannot sue someone for potential damages -- i.e., what they might do with the check.

Secondly, if they complete the check or attempt to submit a forged draft, then the playing field changes significantly. Forgery and passing false papers (utterance) is criminal, and if proven, could result in considerable jail time (depending on the amount). Further, a forged check should be caught by the bank. If they do not catch the bad check, you can hold the bank liable for any payments made. Finally, you can sue the bad actor for conversion -- that's taking cash from you.

Finally, the prudent act at this point, assuming nothing else has been done with the checks, would be to contact the bank and let them know your checks have been stolen. There are procedures to get you new bank drafts, while invalidating the prior checks. If the theft was egregious, you may need to get a new account number.

Do you need help figuring out what the next steps should be? Have they already threatened to write a check? Give us a call at 703-402-2723 to discuss this further.

Read more
Answered on 3/09/14, 9:34 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Criminal Law questions and answers in District of Columbia