Cheque, according to the Civil and Commercial Code, mean a written instrument by which a person, called the drawer, orders a banker to pay on demand a sum of money to, or to the order of, a person, called the payee. When the cheque is due, the holder of cheque must present it for payment. In case the cheque is bounced, the holder of the cheque can take either or both civil and criminal action against the drawer.
However, the issue might be in taking criminal action. Not all bounced cheque can file criminal charge but only for the case stipulated in Offence from Using the Cheque Act, B.E. 2534 (1991), enacted for enforcement with its criminal punishment by imprisonment and/ or fine.
According the Act, any person who issues a cheque for the payment of an existing and legally enforceable debt, with any of the followings:
(1) Intending that no payment for such cheque;
(2) Having insufficient funds in the account at the time of issuance such cheque;
(3) Ordering for payment higher than the funds in the account at the time of issuance such cheque;
(4) Withdrawing the funds, either wholly or partially, from the account payable, until that the amount is insufficient to make payment of such cheque;
(5) In bad faith, ordering the banker not to make payment of such cheque.
When the cheque is legally presented for payment, if the cheque cannot be processed because a banker rejected to make payment of such cheque, the drawer is committed an offence, and shall be panelized with the fine not exceeding sixty thousand baht or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both.
The main issue shall be definition of “existing and legally enforceable debt” which has to be interpreted case by case. If the debt is not existing and legally enforceable, the judge can dismiss the case. So, if you have any doubt on this interpretation, pls discuss with your lawyer.
The injured person must file a criminal charge with a police officer, or proceed to prosecute or enter criminal proceeding on his own within three months from the day when the offence and the offender become known to him. Normally it shall be the date the bank dishonored the cheque.
If injured persons do not proceed as above mentioned within the time specified, then, the injured person shall not be entitled to lodge criminal offence against the drawer at all. It shall be ground for the judge to dismiss the case.