In Florida, there are laws specific to the use of worthless checks. If you use a check, debit card, or credit card that is attached to insufficient funds or no account, you may be charged with a criminal offense. Ordinarily, in these cases, the incident arises from misunderstandings. However, the penalties for worthless check charges are still heavy.
A worthless check charge can mar your criminal record. This can lead to problems in obtaining future employment. Do not take a worthless checks charge lightly. If you or someone you know has been charged with worthless checks, it is your right to obtain legal representation.
Fort Pierce Attorney for Worthless Checks in Florida
Writing a worthless check can result in serious legal consequences. In addition to this, you may also be required to pay restitution fines. It is important that you take legal action as soon as possible. Find a trusted attorney today with Meltzer & Bell.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell excel at creating defenses for those criminally charged in the state of Florida. We are passionate about what we do. Our attorneys will file motions, suppress evidence, and do what needs to be done to obtain the best possible results for your case.
Meltzer & Bell represents those accused of writing worthless checks throughout Martin County and St. Lucie County area including Ocean Breeze, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, and Stuart.
Do what is right for your future. Call us at (772) 248-1215 today.
Overview for Worthless Checks in Florida
Elements for Worthless Checks Charges in Florida
Florida Statute § 832.05 states the elements of a worthless check charge. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:
- The alleged offender unlawfully drew, made, utter, issued, or delivered a check or draft for the payment of money drawn on the alleged offender’s personal or business account;
- The alleged offender, knew at the time of the drawing, made, uttered, issued, or delivered said check or draft that the account did not have sufficient funds on deposit in / or credit with such bank or depository with which to pay the same on presentation;
- The victim who received the check did not know and had not been notified prior to the drawing or uttering of the check, and did not have reason to believe that the alleged offender did not have on deposit not credit with the same bank sufficient funds to ensure payment of the check; and
- The alleged offender did obtain or attempt to obtain services, goods, wares, or other things of value by means of said check or draft.
Understand that you do not need to obtain anything of value to be charged with issuing a worthless check. If you do not receive any property or money from your worthless check, you will still face charges.
Florida Penalties for Worthless Checks in St. Lucie County
The penalties for issuing worthless checks or debit/credit cards are reliant on the amount in value obtained. Even if the bank pays the recipient whatever was taken, the offender can still be charged and convicted.
If the amount stolen is under $150, then the crime will be considered a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties of a first-degree misdemeanor include:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and
- A possible fine of up to $1,000.
If the amount exceeds $150, then the crime will be considered a third-degree felony. The penalties of a third-degree felony include:
- Up to five years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to this, the court may require the alleged offender to pay restitution costs to the victim. The court will determine these restitution costs.
Possible Defenses for Issuing Worthless Checks in Florida
In your case, it is likely the prosecution will rely heavily on bank statements. Even if this information seems incriminating to you, there is still hope for a defense. You can work with your attorney in tandem to formulate a sturdy defense.
The following are some defenses that may be implemented in your case:
- Postdated Check – It is a viable defense to state that the check given to the alleged victim was postdated. If the check is post-dated then that indicates to the alleged victim that it would have insufficient funds until the postmarked date.
- Knowledge of Account Balance – It is a common defense to state that you did not know you had insufficient funds. In many worthless checks cases, the incident arises from misunderstanding. A person may be struggling financially and believe that he or she does have the money. Instead, they find out later the check bounced due to account mismanagement or other factors.
- The Victim Knew the Checks’ Status – In some cases, the alleged victim was notified prior to accepting the check, or had reason to believe, that there were insufficient funds to cover the expense. For example, if a person gives a check to another to hold for a brief period, then the receiver should be aware that the check would not be honored at that current time.
Florida’s Worthless Checks Laws – Visit the official website for Florida’s Legislature. Find more information regarding worthless checks and other fraud-related offenses. Learn the charge specifics, penalties, and admissible defenses in court.
What is a Worthless Check? – Visit the official website for Pam Boni, Florida’s Attorney General. Find more information on what a worthless check is; how to report one; and what to do if you are a victim of a worthless check.
Lawyer for Worthless Checks in Martin County, FL
Have you recently issued a worthless check in the State of Florida? Are you unsure on what your next move is? Get ahead of the prosecution now. Contact an attorney at Meltzer & Bell.
Meltzer & Bell is a group of established criminal defense attorneys. We have over 20 collective years of experience in Florida’s criminal court system. Our team has both a former prosecutor and former public defender. We have the insight from both sides of the courtroom. Find an attorney who knows the law in and out. Call us today at (772) 248-1215, for a free consultation.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell represent those accused of committing an economic crime throughout the Treasure Coast area including Rio, Jupiter island, Port St. Lucie, and Fort Pierce.
This article was last updated on September 5, 2018.