Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order: Texas Penal Code §32.41

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you wrote a check for a payment knowing that the bank issuer did not have sufficient enough funds to cover the check.

This is the Texas law that makes it illegal to write bad checks.

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The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 32.41. The legislature did not update this law in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 2013.

The Penal Code codifies the Texas Bad Checks law under Title 7 “Offenses Against Property,” Chapter 32 “Fraud.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order below.

What is the current Texas law about Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order in Penal Code Section §32.41 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if he issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance.

How can I be charged with an Bad Checks offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 32.41(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Bad Checks in Texas?

As a misdemeanor, Bad Checks charges have a two-year limitations period.[2]

What is the penalty for a Texas Bad Checks offense?

A conviction for Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order is punished by default as a Class C misdemeanor,[3] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $500.

However, if the bad check passed if for child support, then a conviction for Issuance of Bad Check or Similar Sight Order in Texas is punished as a Class B misdemeanor,[4] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Bad Checks in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Bad Checks, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[5]

Note, however, that judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[6]

What level of crime is Bad Checks in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies the punishment for Bad Checks as either a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Penal Code §32.41. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^3. Texas Penal Code §32.41(f)^4. Texas Penal Code §32.41(f)^5. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^6. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure


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