Collection agencies and payday lenders often will use overreaching efforts to try to collect their money. In the US, we do not have debtor's prison. If their collectors are threatening criminal action or prison, you should be sure to clearly log all of these alls and what is said. Contact a local FDCPA (Fair DEbt Collection Practices Act) attorney to explore possible action against the collectors' company.
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They can do it in Alabama. It is counted as issuing a worthless check. That is why they have you write checks.
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It has been my experience that most DAs in Alabama will NOT prosecute these type cases. In order to convict you, it must be shown that the lender thought the check was good when it accepted it. In this type transaction, it clearly did not. In any case, I would suggest that you talk to an experienced attorney to explore your options. Best wishes!