Passing a bad check is a serious offense in Washington County. The Washington County Attorney’s Office will aggressively pursue those who write bad checks.

There is no cost to someone who needs to prosecute a cold check. The program aids local merchants and individuals for the losses they suffer from accepting bad checks.

If you have been given a cold check, please bring a copy of the check to our office. A letter will be sent to the person who wrote the cold check and they will have 10 days from the date our letter is sent to deposit cash, a bank check or money order at one of the Springfield State Bank branches located in Washington County. Advent, a private vendor who we contract with, will then reimburse the merchant for any funds recovered. If the check writer does not pay within ten (10) days of the date on the letter, criminal charges may be taken against the check writer.

A merchant may charge a fee for its time and efforts in dealing with cold checks. You must post in a conspicuous place in your store that you charge for cold checks. You may pick up a sticker from our office.

Copies of checks may be brought into the office, mailed or faxed to 859-336-3926 or you may email your scanned checks to our office.


Merchants may charge a fee for a returned check. KRS 514.040 (4) (b). You must give notice of your policy of charging this amount in a conspicuous place, usually by posting a sticker that is provided by the County Attorney.

How are the fees collected and who pays for them?
The check writer pays with a deposit slip that is sent to them with their letter. The merchant will be reimbursed by Advent. The merchant will receive the amount of its check and the merchant fee.


If someone forges the account holder’s name, the account holder cannot be prosecuted for a cold check. The person who made the check would be prosecuted for forgery and theft by deception. For this reason, it is very important that persons taking checks verify the identity of the person from whom they are taking a check.

*Have “pre-approved” check cashing lists where persons wishing to pay you by check have filled out an application and you have verified the information on the application and DO NOT TAKE CHECKS FROM ANYONE NOT ON THE LIST!

Always verify the identity of the person presenting the check by photo i.d.;
Make certain that the person standing in front of you is the account holder;
Get a current address and telephone number;
Obtain a social security number, drivers’ license number and date of birth;


If you know who presented the check (i.e. video or eyewitness familiar with the check writer) please contact law enforcement to report.

A “cold check” is a check written for property or services that is not paid by the bank. A bank may dishonor a check for a number of reasons, but the most common reasons are if the account is closed or there is no account at all or if there are insufficient funds in the account to cover the check. What is NOT a cold check? A check that is given for something other than property or services is not a cold check. Therefore, checks for rent, payment on a debt (other than child support), stop payment checks and third party checks are not classified (or prosecuted) as cold checks. You may still sue the individual in civil court, but this office cannot prosecute things that are not cold checks.
The types of checks this office cannot prosecute:

  • Payment on account
  • Post-dated
  • Stale-dated
  • Hold/held
  • Signature not on file
  • Two-party
  • Payroll
  • Stop payment
  • Refer-to-maker
If a check comes back to you for closed account or insufficient funds, bring a copy of the check to the County Attorney’s office as soon as possible. This increases the possibility that the check writer can be found. It also facilitates communication between merchants so you can make a better decision whether or not to accept a check from the person in the future. Finally, criminal charges on checks under $500 must be brought within one year after the date the check was passed. If you wait too long, we cannot prosecute the check.

* Keep the original check as the check writer can request his/her check returned to them upon payment of the check.

DO NOT ACCEPT MONEY FROM WRITER – If you do, you will have to refund it to the check writer and it may jeopardize the successful prosecution of the criminal case. Instead, tell writer to come to our office for a deposit slip to pay the check at a Springfield State Bank location.
  • When the writer goes to court, most will enter a plea agreement to repay the check.
  • Advent, a private vendor who we contract with, will forward your money once the writer pays it.
  • Sometimes, a judge may allow the writer additional time to repay the check.
Yes, you may charge a fee for your time and effort dealing with cold checks. A sign must be conspicuously posted in the store. We have stickers available at our office to post in your store.
(a) Training – Train your employees to gather accurate information at time check is taken

–From photo identification:

  1. SS Number — Required for summons in some counties (Jefferson)
  2. Driver’s license number
  3. Date of Birth
  4. Good address (a PO Box is not sufficient)
  5. Employee information on who accepted check
  6. Timely presentation of checks to County Attorney
(a) You do not have to go to court unless you are subpoenaed. If you are subpoenaed and you are the person who took the check, simply show up at the appointed time. If you cannot make it, make certain to call our office or the case could be dismissed.
(b) If you are not the person who took the check, find out who did. We need the actual clerk who took the check to testify in court as to the procedures s/he followed.
(c) If you have a videotape of the transaction and you are subpoenaed, please let us know as soon as possible.