(This is a four-part discussion on Bouncing Checks. See the pages at bottom of post.)
What are the acts punished under BP 22?
Section 1 of the Bouncing Checks Law penalizes two distinct acts:
- Making or drawing and issuing any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that the drawer does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank.
- Having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of 90 days from the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.
What are the differences between the two?
- In the first paragraph, the drawer knows that he does not have sufficient funds to cover the check at the time of its issuance, while in the second paragraph, the drawer has sufficient funds at the time of issuance but fails to keep sufficient funds or maintain credit within ninety (90) days from the date appearing on the check. In both instances, the offense is consummated by the dishonor of the check for insufficiency of funds or credit.
- The check involved in the first offense is worthless at the time of issuance since the drawer had neither sufficient funds in nor credit with the drawee bank at the time, while that involved in the second offense is good when issued as drawer had sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when issued.
- Under the first offense, the 90-day presentment period is not expressly provided, while such period is an express element of the second offense.
What are the general elements of Bouncing Checks?
The elements of the offense (further discussed in the next pages) under Section 1 of B.P. 22 are:
- drawing and issuance of any check to apply on account or for value;
- knowledge by the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he did not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon presentment; and
- said check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment.
What are the applicable penalties?
Courts have a discretion of imposing the following: (1) imprisonment only; (2) fine only; or (3) fine and imprisonment. In other words, it is possible that no imprisonment will be imposed.