The Hot Check Department administers the Criminal District Attorney’s Hot Check Loss Prevention Program, conducts investigations into patterns of fraud that may be indicated by worthless check schemes, and offers assistance to those who may be victimized by identity theft.
2100 Bloomdale Road, Ste. 100
McKinney, Texas 75071
The District Attorney’s Hot Check Department’s primary purpose is to receive complaints of theft arising from the passing of worthless checks and to develop those complaints into prosecutable cases. To help in this effort, the Criminal District Attorney’s office provides information to merchants on the proper procedures they should use in accepting a check for payment for their goods, products, or services. When proper procedures are used, the likelihood of catching the offender, obtaining restitution for the merchant and getting a conviction against the writer of a hot check greatly increases. You can review or download Accepting a Check and Procedure for Taking a Check to assist you in learning those proper procedures. You can download Acrobat Reader here for free.
Filing a Check with the DA
If the check is an NSF check:
- Send a letter to the person who signed the check, to the address on the check, if you have not enrolled in the DA’s Fast Filing Program. A sample fill-in-the-blank letter is available here.
- Wait ten (10) days to file the check with the DA’s Office.
- When you file the check with the DA’s Office, you must file BOTH THE ORIGINAL CHECK, OR A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE CHECK OBTAINED FROM THE BANK, AND THE AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE(which you can download here), along with the Worthless Check Affidavit (which you can download here).
- You no longer have to send a notice letter to the check writer by certified mail. You can send the letter by regular mail and then complete the affidavit of service and then send it to us.
If the check was written on a closed account:
- No notice by certified mail or otherwise is required.
- File the original check or a substitute check with the DA’s Office along with the Worthless Check Affidavit here.
Merchants’ Hot Check Fast Filing Program
You can enroll in the District Attorney’s Hot Check Fast Filing Program:
- The Hot Check Department of the Criminal District Attorney’s Office will send any required notices for you. This is a FREE SERVICE for those enrolled in the program. All of our services are free to the public no matter which filing method you use.
- When you file the check with the District Attorney’s Office, you must file the ORIGINAL CHECK or substitute check along with the Fast Filing Affidavit (which you can download here).
Even if the Hot Check Department cannot develop a prosecutable case from a hot check you submit, we will still attempt to collect restitution for you as well as the statutory merchant fee to which you are entitled. If the case is a prosecutable case and is filed in court for prosecution, we will require that restitution and the merchant fee be paid as a condition of any plea bargain agreement or, if the court agrees, as a condition of probation, if granted by the court. The Collin County Criminal District Attorney’s Office will not dismiss a case solely because the offender pays restitution or because a victim wishes to drop charges. Once filed, the criminal case will proceed just as any other case normally would.
Federal law now allows banks to replace a check with an imaged substitute check. Your bank may use this process, and you would not receive the actual hot check you received and deposited. It is likely that in the near future original processed paper checks will no longer be made available to you, but for a fee you can obtain a substitute check from your bank. (The imaged checks you receive with your bank statement are not substitute checks.) Because of this fee, the Hot Check Department began to collect the maximum merchant fee of $30.00 on all returned checks written in 2004 and later. The collection of this fee should help to offset the cost of obtaining a substitute check.
Substitute checks from your bank are the only exception to the requirement that the Hot Check Department have the original hot check in order to accept it for collection and prosecution.
Some Things a Merchant Should Know
Not until all restitution and your merchant fee have been collected from the offender will you receive that money in the form of a restitution check from the Hot Check Department.
- You should have a check acceptance policy consistent with the information provided on this website regarding Accepting a Check and a Procedure for Taking a Check, and you should follow that policy consistently.
- The DA’s Office cannot accept the following kinds of checks for prosecution:
- Post-dated or “hold” checks
- Checks not presented to a bank for payment within 30 days of receipt
- Checks presented outside Collin County or for services performed outside Collin County
- A check given as a substitute for another
- Checks received in the mail
- Two (or more)-party checks
- Checks altered or forged
- Checks where no goods, products, or services were given in immediate exchange
- Checks given to pay a pre-existing debt
- Drafts, which are an extension of credit
- Checks that are not marked or flagged “account closed” or “NSF”
- Checks where the apparent signer cannot be identified as having actually signed and presented the check
- If you are not sure how to submit a check to the District Attorney’s Office, or if you have any questions about any aspect of accepting a check, call one of the Hot Check Department staff members, where they will ensure your questions are answered.
- Be suspicious of :
- Starter checks
- Temporary, expired, or out-of-state driver’s licenses
- Department of Public Safety ID cards (intended for senior citizens and the disabled)
- Anyone who cannot produce a driver’s license
- Any variation between the information on the check, the ID produced and/or the check writer
- Always keep a copy of everything you send to the DA’s Office, Hot Check Department
We accept Visa and Master Card only. There is a $5.00 convenience fee for making a payment over the phone. Please call 972-548-3601, 972-548-3602 or the metro number 972-424-1460 with any of those 3 extension numbers.
I received notice from the Hot Check Department that some hot checks I wrote have been filed with the DA. What should I do?
You should immediately contact the Hot Check Department, find out how much you owe, and make arrangements to pay the checks, the merchant’s fee, and the DA’s fee. If eligible, you may be able to pay by installments. You can pay by mail with a money order or cashier’s check, and if paying in person, you may pay in cash. As you might expect, the Hot Check Department does not accept personal checks. Never send cash in the mail. Do not make restitution to the merchant directly. Doing so will not cause the criminal case against you to be dropped.
Well, I didn’t pay the hot checks I wrote, and now I have criminal cases filed against me. What do I do?
A warrant has been issued for your arrest. You are advised to surrender to the county sheriff.
OK, now that I have criminal cases filed against me, what happens after I am arrested? If I pay restitution and all the fees and costs, will the criminal cases be dismissed?
Your criminal case will be handled as any criminal case would be. You should have a lawyer and consider his or her advice. Your attorney will counsel you about the procedures in a criminal case. Under no circumstances will your criminal case be dismissed merely because you paid restitution, fees, and costs. The Hot Check Department will not be your banker. Once a criminal case is filed against you, the Hot Check Department only collects your money while the prosecutor assigned to your case determines how the State will proceed with the disposition of your case.
Can I get a list from your office of the hot checks I have written?
You can get a list of hot checks you have written that have been filed with the Hot Check Department. You must appear in person and have a state driver’s license or other official photo identification. We will not release the information to anyone but you or your attorney.
If hot checks I have written are filed with your Hot Check Department, will I have a criminal record if I pay the checks and fees before a criminal case is filed against me?
You will not have a criminal record for the hot checks filed with the Hot Check Department if you pay those checks before a criminal case is filed. However, merely paying the checks you owe will not necessarily prevent a criminal case from being filed. The decision to file a criminal case involves many factors, and no one in the Collin County Criminal District Attorney’s Office will tell you with certainty that a case will not be filed merely because you made restitution (although payment of restitution is a factor in making that decision). All things considered, you will likely be better off if you pay the checks and fees than if you don’t.