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Worthless checks and other trade and commerce mischief may seem like small offenses; however, given their frequency in the state of Florida, they are serious theft crimes.
Similar to crimes involving fraud such as forgery, crimes regarding distribution or the use of worthless checks are considered “crimes of dishonesty.” These types of offenses can negatively affect your personal life including limiting your employment options.
If you have been charged with writing or using a worthless check, you are facing expensive fees. Fighting these charges alone can lead to you spending a large sum of money on a variety of miscellaneous fees. You need an experienced defense attorney to help you avoid costly fees and to work towards the best outcome.
If you or someone you know has been charged with using a worthless check, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced Gainesville criminal defense attorney. One of defense attorneys at Galigani Law Firm can work with you the best defense possible for your circumstances.
If you live in Columbia County, Gilchrist County, Bradford County, Union County, Putnam County, Marion County, or Levy County, call us at (352) 375-0812 to schedule your free consultation. The office of Galigani Law Firm is located six (6) minutes from the University of Florida Gainesville campus.
Under Florida Statute §832.05, it is illegal for any individual or corporation to make, draw, or distribute a check or any other written order to another person for the payment of money if he or she knows, at the time that the check is written or delivered, that he or she has insufficient funds with which to pay the amount provided on the check.
This statute gives an exception for post-dated checks and for situations where the drawee knows or should have known that the drawer had insufficient funds to ensure payment.
Penalties for the issuance or distribution of a worthless check in the amount of less than $150 fall in the category of a first-degree misdemeanor. This offense carries a punishment of up to one year imprisonment.
If the worthless check was in the amount of $150 or more, penalties are increased to a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of five (5) years imprisonment.
Florida allows several defenses against a worthless check allegation. Some of these defenses include the following:
The Drawee knew or should’ve known about the Drawer’s Insufficient Funds
When the recipient of a worthless check was notified of the drawer’s insufficient funds, or should have known of the insufficient funds, this may be enough to bar prosecution. This includes when the drawer tells the drawee to delay depositing the check.
The Drawer was Unaware that the Check was Worthless
Florida law requires a knowledge element to prosecute an individual for writing a worthless check. If the drawer of such a check was unaware that his or her account had insufficient funds when the check was drafted, he or she cannot be prosecuted for knowingly writing a worthless check.
Stopped Payment with Fraudulent Intent
For checks where the drawer has stopped payment with fraudulent intent, this offense is prosecuted under §832.04(1), not under §832.05.
Worthless checks returned to the bank for an unauthorized signature are typically forged checks. Therefore, these types of worthless checks may not be prosecuted under §832.05.
Similarly to the knowledge requirement, postdated checks are an example where the drawer gives the drawee notice that funds are insufficient at the time the check is transferred.
Worthless Check Definition under Florida Statute §832.05- Visit the Online Sunshine website of Florida’s state legislature to find out more about worthless checks related penalties for drafting a worthless check. The website provides the statutory language for various violations involving checks and drafts. Also, find more information on related offenses including depositing a worthless check with intent to defraud.
Filing a Worthless Check Complaint- Visit the State Attorney Eight Judicial Circuit website of Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit to find out more about how a drawee can file a complaint for a worthless check. The website provides information on filing a complaint with the State Attorney. Also, find more information on State Attorney requirements for drawees filing a worthless check complaint.
If you find yourself facing charges for drawing or issuing a worthless check in Gainesville, call the attorneys at Galigani Law Firm to discuss the details of your case. One of our criminal defense attorneys can examine possible defenses best tailored to your circumstances. Call Galigani Law Firm at (352) 375-0812 today to discuss your charges with a skilled attorney.
This page was last updated by G.I. on Wednesday November 30, 2016
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