Many people with no or little criminal record have found themselves facing Worthless Check allegations. The State will often bring charges without investigating the case. They often issue arrest warrants for people for issuing worthless checks when they have no or little evidence who passed the worthless check. For example, a person may go to a grocery store and pay with a worthless check issued from your account and they may claim to be you. The young cashier may nonchalantly look at a license and take the check. The State is going to have a hard time proving that you were the one who issued the check. Often, citizens find out years after the fact that there is a warrant out for their arrest because of worthless checks that are years old. If you have a worthless check case, whether it is a new or old case, give us a call.
The crime of Worthless Check is defined in Florida Statute Section 832.05. To prove the crime of Worthless Check, the State must prove:
- You drew, made, uttered, issued, or delivered a check, and
- when you did so, there was not sufficient money on deposit in the bank to pay the check, and
- you knew when you wrote the check that you did not have sufficient money on deposit with the bank , and
- you knew you had no arrangement or understanding with the bank for the payment of the check when it was presented.
What if I thought I had enough money in my account when I issued the check?
The State has to prove that you knew that you didn't have sufficient money in the bank to cover the check. It wouldn't be a defense to issue a check thinking that money would become available in the account, but wasn't already there, but it would be a defense if you believed you had the money in the account when you issued the check.
Up to 1 year in jail
Worthless Check (Receive $150 value or more)
Up to 5 years in prison
Worthless check cases are very difficult for the State to prove, yet people often decline to defend themselves when charged with Worthless Check. The most common defense to worthless check is that the State can't prove that you were the one who issued the check. Checks are often issued to stores with high turnover in employees. Very few stores require customers to provide a fingerprint when issuing a check. They often simply glance at a driver's license and take the check. The State often can't prove who tendered the check that had your name on it and who left with the merchandise.
Another defense is that the person you tendered the check to knew that there were insufficient funds. For example, sometimes people will give people or stores checks and ask them not to cash them until a certain date because they don't have the funds in the account yet. If this is the case, you would not be guilty of Worthless Check.
Another defense is that the check was post-dated. Like the issue above, sometimes the issuer of the check will postdate the check to the date they want it cashed. If the date on the check is after it was cashed, this would be a viable defense, as well.
Another common defense is the Statute of Limitations. If the warrant or capias was issued several years ago and you have not been arrested, your attorney may be able to file a Motion to Dismiss based on the Statute of Limitations. Give us a call to discuss your worthless check case.
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