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Not all bad checks can be accepted by Diversion Services for criminal prosecution. Diversion makes an initial assessment of the checks received to determine whether they fit within the legal guidelines of a criminal bad check. Please note that an acceptable check must meet one of the following requirements:
The County Attorney's Office cannot pursue criminal charges for bad checks if any of the following conditions exist, as these checks cannot be successfully prosecuted under Nebraska bad check statutes:
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When a bad check is written to a merchant, the merchant can turn that check, plus a $10 fee for each check, over to our office for prosecution. Any check(s) needs to be accompanied by the Affidavit/Request for Prosecution form. Our office contracts with Diversion Services to manage bad checks. Copies of the check(s) and the appropriate fee(s) can be mailed, or brought in person, to Diversion Services.
Prior to filing criminal charges in most cases, the check-writer has an opportunity to pay off the check and fees associated with it. When Diversion receives a check from the merchant, letters are sent to the check-writer at their last known address (usually the address on the check).
The letters notify the check-writer that a bad check has been received and inform the check-writer of the process that will take place, and how the check-writer can avoid criminal prosecution. The letter will advise the signer that a criminal complaint has been made against them and that they have 10 days to pay the bad check(s) plus the fee(s). Check writers are instructed to make all payments to Diversion Services. All monies collected during a month are paid out to the appropriate victims during the first half of the following month.
If the merchant wants to accept full payment after the check has been turned over to Diversion, they may do so. In the event the merchant accepts full payment, the merchant must notify Diversion.
As a general rule, a $15 check is the minimum amount that can be accepted for prosecution. However, there are many variables that are considered by prosecution and each case is slightly different.
Payment can be made in the form of cash, money order, or cashier's check made payable to Diversion Services. Once a check has been turned over to Diversion Services, do not pay the merchant directly.
If there is no response to the letters, or if payments are not made on a consistent basis, Diversion sends those bad checks to the Criminal Division of the County Attorney's Office for filing of a charge accompanied by a warrant for the check-writer's arrest.
After criminal charges are filed, a warrant may be issued for the check-writer's arrest. When the prosecutor files charges, they also determine whether or not the check-writer is eligible to have their charge(s) dismissed at the check-writer's cost upon successful completion of the bad check class and full payment of checks and fees.
There are several factors that are considered when determining whether or not someone is eligible for a dismissal. The most common reason a check-writer is not eligible for the program is if he/she has previously participated in the bad check program.
The Defendant (check-writer) has an opportunity to have their criminal charges dismissed at their costs after they pay the total balance of all checks and fees turned over to Diversion Services and complete the class successfully. If the requirements are completed prior to the Defendant's next court date, the Defendant may bring their class certificate and receipt for payment in full to our office with court costs and we will provide the Defendant with a dismissal form to file with the Clerk of the County Court. Please note that the court case is not over until the Defendant's case is officially dismissed.