Can I be arrested for a bad check that I wrote to a payday loan company 6 years ago?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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Can I be arrested for a bad check that I wrote to a payday loan company 6 years ago?

An attorney’s office just called about NSFcheck for a payday loan at least 6 years ago (WA state), I think it was $500 and now $1200. They say I need to take care of it in 2 days or they will charge me with felony. I am not working and receive state assistance. I have a 3 yearold, have never been in trouble, and am very scared I will go to jail.

Asked on July 27, 2011 Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Potentially the statute of limitations for a criminal and even a civil action has run after the passage of six years from when you wrote a check for insufficient funds. You should do some research with your states civil and criminal laws as to the statute of limitations for the district attorney's office to file a criminal action after the passage of six years regarding what you did.

Your county bar association may have a program where attorneys volunteer time to help people like you.

I am concerned about an attorney's office calling you demanding payment for the check in two days and if not paid, they will charge you with a felony. Many states have ethical codes for attorneys. One such code is that an attorney cannot threaten a criminal action to gain an advantage in a civil action. This is what happened to you in the telephone call. You might consider the State Bar of Washington's client hot line to speak with someone about the threat you received and make a report about that law firm.

You might also consider speaking with an attorney experienced in criminal defense and civil litigation to look into statute of limitations issues.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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