Criminal District Attorney - Hot Checks
A Criminal District Attorney is a
statutorily created office that is legally bound to not only handle all
criminal matters for the designated county but also all civil matters
related to representation of the county, county officials, and all
associated matters. The Texas Constitution provides for the office of County Attorney in each
However, the legislature may abolish the office of County Attorney by establishing a
Criminal District Attorney for such a county.
This legislative change took place in Comal County in 1997.
Prior to this, Comal County had a County Attorney and a District
The statutory duties of a Criminal District Attorney include the following:
- Represent the State of Texas and victims of crimes in all criminal cases in the District Courts, County Courts-at-Law, and Justice Courts and in appeals therefrom.
- Represent the best interests of our children in Child Protective Services cases.
- Represent the victims of domestic abuse by obtaining protective orders against abusive family members.
- Represent the State of Texas and victims of crimes in ensuring that justice is rendered for juveniles accused of criminal offenses.
- Provide County Officials with written opinions or advice relating to the official duties of that official.
Criminal District Attorney
Maria Corona - 830-221-1303
Criminal District Attorney Hot Checks Division
Letter to Merchants
January 6, 2015
Dear Comal County Merchant:
I am pleased to administer a Hot Check Division within the Comal County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.
In an effort to improve effectiveness and investigative thoroughness, I have implemented a new protocol for filing Hot Check cases.
I appreciate your cooperation in these new efforts.
A “hot check” is a check that is not backed by
sufficient funds in the account on which it is drawn.
criminally prosecutes individuals who commit theft by using a hot check
as a weapon of deception to obtain products or services. My office
must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, through admissible
evidence, that a person who wrote a hot check used the hot check or some
other token to deceive a merchant into providing a service or product.
The focus of the law surrounding criminal “hot check” cases is not
necessarily the merchant’s reasonable expectation of being paid.
Instead, the focus is on proving that a person intended or knew that
they were going to steal a service or product before they received it
and used a hot check or some other token to deceive the merchant into
providing the service or product. The Courts in Texas have ruled
that in cases dealing with a check written for services to be a
theft, the check MUST be written PRIOR to the service being rendered.
The new protocol being implemented for filing hot check cases will help
provide the information necessary for my office to effectively review
and prosecute criminal theft cases that involve the use of a hot check.
However, not all cases that involve hot checks are
criminal theft cases that my office will be able to prosecute.
Some hot check cases actually consist of a civil disagreement
between the parties concerning the quality or quantity of the goods or
services provided. In those
cases, there may be a civil breach of contract by one or more of the
parties. However, in such
cases, my office does not have lawful authority to provide legal
representation. In those
cases, a private lawyer may be able to help you collect on the check or
resolve the disagreement.
Procedure and Protocol
In order to effectively and efficiently review hot
check cases, I ask that you help us in providing the following detailed
information to my Hot Check Division:
1. the original check (or
substitute check – see attached) sent by bank to you that shows the
following on the face of the check:
a. the name and address of
the individual presenting the check;
b. the driver’s license number;
c. a telephone number of the individual presenting the check;
d. check was not post-dated; and
e. the stamped reason why check was denied by bank
2. a completed, signed and sworn Complaint
and Affidavit form form available online or at the Hot Check
Division of the Comal County Criminal District Attorney;
3. The unopened certified letter returned back to you as either “unclaimed,” “moved left no
address,” etc. or the signed green card and the proof of mailing
receipt. If the person signs the green card, please give ten (10)
days from the date on the green card before filing. Send the
letter to the address on the check. If the person gives you a
different address, send a letter to that address also. A
letter is available online or at the Hot Check Division of the Comal
County Criminal District Attorney; and
4. A copy of the letter
that was sent to the check writer.
5. Any and all documents,
agreements, writings, letters, etc. used and relied upon in the
6. Before the case is filed
and/or goes to trial, you may get notification that a more thorough and
detailed form will have to be filled out.
7. If the check was stamped
“Stop Payment”, please fill out the additional
Effective with checks written on or after September
1, 2007, we are now allowed to collect the additional delivery
notification fee for certified return receipt notices. Merchants
must provide my office with proof of costs for us to be able to collect
these additional fees.
1. If the driver’s license
is printed on the check, ask to see the check writer’s driver’s license.
This is extremely important because at trial you will be asked under
oath under the penalty of perjury that you verified the identity of the
check writer. If you cannot verify the check writer’s identity,
then my office cannot prosecute the charge. Just because the
number is on the check does not necessarily mean that it belongs to the
person presenting or signing the check.
2. Another great way in
securing the identity of a check writer is to obtain their thumbprint on
the face of the check. Many office supply stores sell inexpensive
inkless thumbprint pads that can be used easily for these purposes.
A search of the internet will provide many examples of various
inexpensive thumbprint systems and pads.
3. The Office of the
Criminal District Attorney may refer your case to local law enforcement
agencies for further investigation.
4. It is important that you
provide us with as much detail of the transaction as possible to prevent
any more delay than is necessary in reviewing your case.
5. If you sell services and have your customers sign some type of service order, adding the
following language to your service order agreement would be very helpful:
“I understand that the services herein are provided
only for compensation. By accepting services I am representing
that I have sufficient funds available to pay for the services herein
and I agree to provide full payment upon completion of these services.”
In your service,
Jennifer A. Tharp
SAMPLE OF SUBSTITUTE CHECK
Substitute check is on yellow or white paper
If you have any questions or suggestions, please do
not hesitate to call 830-221-1303 or e-mail
Maria Corona from the Hot