Hot Check Program

The Hot Check Program of the City Prosecutor's Office assists Fayetteville merchants and citizens in regaining lost revenue due to receiving checks returned by financial institutions for insufficient balance or account closed status (Hot Checks). Hot Checks can be prosecuted through this office up to a $1,000 amount and merchants or citizens will have up to one year to prosecute. This program also gives the Hot Check writer a chance to make good on his or her checks without being prosecuted; the City Prosecutor's Office prosecutes Hot Check writers who do not take care of their debts.

First time to use the Hot Check Program? Please fill out the New Vendor IRS W-9 Form (PDF) and bring it in when turning the check over. If you have any questions, please call us at 479-575-8254.

Hot Check Fee Act
The Hot Check Fee Act was passed by the legislature to defray some of the prosecution expenses and require Hot Check writers help bear the costs of their misdeeds. After filing a case, there can be the additional expenses of a fine and court costs which can be several hundred dollars. Restitution will be collected by the City’s Utilities Financial Services Division and forwarded to the merchant the following month.

When Check is Returned From Bank
There are certain procedures merchants or citizens must follow before the City Prosecutor's Office will accept a returned check for prosecution. The check must be presented to the bank of payment, even if it will not be honored, and stamped by the bank as to the reason for dishonor. When a check is returned marked Insufficient Funds or Account Closed, it should be delivered to the City Prosecutor as soon as practicable.

The City Prosecutor will need the following information (it will be necessary for you to supply this information on a form when you come into the office):
  • The original check with the bank notation showing the reason it was not honored
  • The name, address, and phone number of the person who accepted the check and who can identify the maker
  • Specific identification of check writer, such as driver's license number, date of birth and/or physical description
Whoever brings the check will be required to sign an affidavit that the instrument is a Hot Check. This affidavit will also be authority for the arrest of the check writer, if necessary. There is no cost to file a complaint for Hot Checks.

Hot Check is Turned Over to the City Prosecutor's Office
Once a check has been turned into this office for collection, the merchant/citizen should not accept any payments for said check. The check writer should be referred to the City Prosecutor’s Office.

A courtesy letter will be sent to the check writer requesting payment for the face value of a check plus a $30 merchant fee. If payment is not made in the time provided, a warrant for their arrest may be issued. It is the check writer's responsibility to make contact with the City Prosecutor's Office or send the money in the time allowed on the letter. A warrant my be canceled when the check is paid, before an arrest is made.  
Checks Not Prosecuted

The following checks are not eligible to be prosecuted under Violation of Arkansas Hot Check Law:
  • A check given for payment on an account
  • A check given in exchange for a returned check
  • A check more than one year old
  • A check not presented to the bank within thirty days
  • A check on which partial payment has been received
  • A check that the merchant agrees to hold for any period of time
  • A post-dated check
  • A stop-payment check
  • A two-party check