There are “hot chicks” in Texas, and then you have “hot checks.” One is good; the other, not so much. A hot check, called a “bad” check in the Texas Penal Code (§32.02 and §32.41) is defined as the issuance of a check by a person who knows that there is not enough funds in the account to pay for it in full. In any circumstance, passing a hot check is a crime, and will be punished accordingly. However, there are two ways that such an offense is addressed under the penal code.
Under §32.41, the offense is considered a Class C misdemeanor (unless it was to pay for child support, in which case it is a more serious charge as a Class B misdemeanor) which carries only a fine and restitution. While this is still bad, but there may be a plausible explanation for the act such as an accounting error which would negate the intent to swindle the payee. Under §32.02, however, it addresses hot checks as theft, and as such can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor (for checks less than $20) all the way up to a first degree felony depending on the face amount of the check and other circumstances. All these charges carry a stint in jail from not more than 180 days to as long as 99 years plus fines.
As mentioned on the website of Inglis Defense, passing a bad check is embarrassing, but it can also mean serious jail time and a hefty fine, not to mention a blot on your criminal record if the case is not handled properly. There are many circumstances that can affect a hot check charge, and few laypersons fully understand the ramifications of playing fast and loose with the Texas Penal Code. If you have already been charged with passing a bad check, you are probably on the brink of having a really bad time. Consult with a hot check defense lawyer to watch out for you and to settle the matter as painfully as possible under the circumstances.