Worthless Check Warrants
Before a warrant will be issued by the magistrate for a worthless check, several conditions and criteria must be met as set forth by the Chief District Judge in this Judicial District. They are as follows:
You must mail the "Defendant" (the person whose signature actually appears on the bottom right portion of the check) a certified letter demanding payment in full within 10 days. However, you will wait 15 days before applying for the warrant, thereby giving appropriate time for mail delivery and response time for the Defendant.
If the defendant does not respond or the letter is returned to you unclaimed, you must then bring to the magistrate:
- A copy of the letter and/or the envelope containing the letter; and
- The certified mail receipt; and,
- The original check; and,
- Your business Federal ID (or Social Security Number if you are personally prosecuting.
You will be asked by the magistrate to fill out a separate "Certification Form" for each check received and you will be asked to swear or affirm to the facts you are giving as this will become testimony and evidence to present in court for the prosecution. This certification requires the following necessary information on each defendant: race, sex, date of birth, drivers license number (including the state of issuance), and a street address (post office box numbers are not acceptable as a warrant cannot be served on a box). It would also be helpful to have the defendant's place of employment. Remember, the more information you can give the magistrate about the defendant, the more likely that the police department can find him/her and serve the warrant, thereby making it more probably that you will receive restitution for your losses.
If you do not have all of the above required information, you may go in person to the police department and they will assist you in obtaining it. Do not call and seek it over the phone because they are not permitted to give it to you unless you are physically present.
When filing out this paperwork, you must print legibly and neat or the warrant will be refused. A warrant cannot be typed if the information cannot be read with accuracy.
After the magistrate issues the warrant, it is sent to the "Central Warrant Repository" for storage. If you have questions about the service of these or you find out a new address, you need to contact the repository at 704-336-6139. Just remember, this repository does not arrest people or serve warrants, they just store them. The local law enforcement officers are responsible for finding and arresting the defendants.
Don't expect anyone to call you for at least 2 to 3 months. After the person has been arrested and a trial date set, the court will subpoena you. These subpoenas may be served in person or over the phone by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department.
Do not call the Magistrate about subpoenas or to find out if the warrant has been served. They will not have this information. If you want to find out if the person has been arrested, you need to call the Clerk of Superior Court at 704-686-0400. However, do not call for at least two months.
The magistrate's office will accept checks Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. only and will only accept for prosecution those checks that have been marked "NSF" (non-sufficient funds) or "ACCOUNT CLOSED" by the banking institution. All checks marked "STOP PAYMENT" will have to be pursued through the civil magistrate. The civil court is located on the 2nd floor of the courthouse. The phone number for this court is 704-686-0520.
Remember, always demand payment in full. If you accept partial payment of the amount owed, the matter becomes civil and we will not issue a warrant for the remainder of monies owed. You may charge a return check fee, however, the warrant is only for the amount written on the check. We cannot and will not make the defendant pay you this fee.
If you are seeking warrants for five or more worthless checks, you will be given the warrant forms to fill out yourself. After completed, bring the completed warrants back to the Magistrate where the information will be checked for accuracy. You will be sworn to it and the Magistrate can sign the warrants and complete the process.
There will be no excuses accepted or deviations from the aforementioned conditions and criteria. The magistrate did not make these rules, they are set out by NC. General Statute and the Chief District Judge.
However, the Magistrate's office certainly appreciates your patience and understanding in presenting this information correctly. It makes our job easier but it also serves to get the person arrested quicker, thereby recovering your losses.