Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who is eligible to utilize the services of the Worthless Check Unit?
Any person or business who has received a worthless check while transacting business in Tuscaloosa County may utilize the services of the Worthless Check Unit.
Is there a cost for the service?
There is no cost to the victim for filing a complaint with the Worthless Check Unit.
Can the Worthless Check Unit accept a worthless check if I have taken a partial payment?
No. If you have accepted a partial payment but have been unable to collect the balance due, you may be able to pursue the matter in civil or small claims court. Note that acceptance of a partial (or full) payment after a complaint has been filed will require you to withdraw the complaint and satisfy a $30 service fee to the Worthless Check Unit.
I agreed to hold a check before depositing it. Can I still file a complaint?
No. By agreeing to hold a check for a period of time, you have implicitly stated your understanding and acceptance that the check was not good at the time it was presented. Such an arrangement between a check writer and merchant precludes the filling of a criminal complaint. If this is the case, you may consider having the matter adjudicated in civil/small claims court.
What happens after I file a worthless check complaint?
After a complaint has been filed with the Worthless Check Unit, we attempt to contact the check writer via mail and telephone. The check writer has two options for clearing the matter. He or she may make restitution directly to the Worthless Check Unit. Restitution consists of the face value of the check, a victim service charge, and a State of Alabama District Attorney service charge. If a check writer is unable or unwilling to pay restitution for his or her worthless check(s) to the Worthless Check Unit, that individual can opt to surrender on the warrant(s) and have the charge(s) adjudicated in District Court.
What happens to the warrant when a check writer pays restitution to the Worthless Check Unit?
If an individual remits full restitution to our office for a worthless check, the associated warrant is withdrawn, voided, and the matter concluded. The charge will not appear on the individual’s permanent record and no court appearance will be required.
Does the Worthless Check Unit accept partial restitution payments from the writer of a worthless check?
No. When restitution is paid for a given check, the entire balance must be cleared at that time.
How long does the Worthless Check Unit give a check writer to pay his or her worthless check(s)?
When a complaint is filed and a warrant is issued, the check writer is given a ten (10) day grace period to remit full restitution to this office. If he or she is unable to remit the full balance by the end of that time, he or she MUST contact our office to discuss a restitution agreement. A Restitution Agreement is an agreement between the Worthless Check Unit and the check writer allowing additional time to pay restitution for his or her case(s). While we do not accept partial payments, we can extend further time beyond the initial ten day grace period. Each individual is evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if a restitution agreement will be offered and, if so, how much time will be allowed for the payment of each check involved.
How long will it take me to receive restitution after the check writer has paid the Worthless Check Unit?
When a worthless check case is cleared through the payment of restitution to the WCU, the District Attorney’s Office will usually mail a check to you by the 10th day of the following month.
How can I find out the status of a complaint I have filed?
Feel free to call anytime to check the status of your case or if you have any questions.
What do I do if the check writer contacts me after I have filed a complaint?
If you are contacted by an individual after filing his/her worthless check with the WCU, refer that person to our office regarding the matter.
What happens if a check writer fails to respond to the WCU or fails to pay restitution as promised?
If an individual ignores attempts by this office to contact him or her and/or fails to make a restitution payment on time, the warrant issued in that individual’s name will be activated. The warrant will then be forwarded to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office to be served on that individual. If an individual fails to voluntarily surrender to the Sheriff’s Office once a warrant is forwarded there, a deputy can be dispatched to place that individual under arrest and transport him or her to the Tuscaloosa Metro Jail.
What happens to a worthless check writer who is served with his/her warrant(s)?
A check writer served with his or her warrant(s) is charged with the offense of Negotiating a Worthless Negotiable Instrument (NWNI). Once that individual is booked into the Tuscaloosa Metro Jail and released, he or she will be assigned a date to appear in Tuscaloosa County District Court on the charges. The criminal offense of NWNI is a Class A Misdemeanor in Alabama and is punishable by up to one (1) year imprisonment and two (2) years probation with the imposition of restitution, fines, fees, and court costs. If a check writer is convicted on the charge(s), the amount of restitution and time frame in which to pay it will be determined by the court.