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What is Larceny by Bad Checks?

Virginia Code 18.2-181 treats the knowing and intentional passing of bad checks as a Larceny (theft):

Any person who, with intent to defraud, shall make or draw or utter or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, upon any bank, banking institution, trust company, or other depository, knowing, at the time of such making, drawing, uttering or delivering, that the maker or drawer has not sufficient funds in, or credit with, such bank, banking institution, trust company, or other depository, for the payment of such check, draft or order, although no express representation is made in reference thereto, shall be guilty of larceny; and, if this check, draft, or order has a represented value of $1,000 or more, such person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. In cases in which such value is less than $1,000, the person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The word “credit” as used herein, shall be construed to mean any arrangement or understanding with the bank, trust company, or other depository for the payment of such check, draft or order.

Any person making, drawing, uttering or delivering any such check, draft or order in payment as a present consideration for goods or services for the purposes set out in this section shall be guilty as provided herein.

This does not criminalize every bounced check. This law applies to knowingly passing bad checks with the intent to defraud. So, the Commonwealth must show more than simply that the check bounced. Knowledge and Intent are also required, and can be hard to prove.

A charge for passing a back check will either be a Misdemeanor Petit Larceny, or a Felony Grand Larceny. If the check is for less than $1,000.00, then the charge will be Petit Larceny, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in Jail and/or a $2,500 fine. If the check is for $1,000.00 or more, then the charge will be a Grand Larceny, Class 6 Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in Prison and/or a fine up to $2,500.

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