Obtaining Property by Worthless Check in Florida

If accused of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check

Under Florida Statute 832.05(4), the crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check is committed when a person issues a check as the inducement for the furnishing of services, goods, wares, or other things of value knowing that there are insufficient funds on deposit with a bank to cover the check.

Check as Inducement for Property

Unlike the similar crime of Issuing Worthless Checks, the crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check requires proof that the worthless check was the actual inducement for the payee to perform the services or deliver the goods involved in the transaction.

In order to prove the check was the inducement, it must be shown the check was issued before, or simultaneously with, the performance of the service or delivery of goods received by the payor.

However, if the goods or services were provided without any specific form of payment expected, and the person later paid with a worthless check, the check is not considered to have been the legal inducement to perform the services or provide the goods. [1]

Withdrawing Funds Prior to Cashing

Withdrawal of the funds necessary for payment of a check within a reasonable time after issuance of a check, but before it has been cashed, is prima facie evidence that a person knew their bank account had insufficient funds. [2]

Penalties for Obtaining Property by Worthless Check

The crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check can be either a misdemeanor or a felony and the determinations is based upon whether the worthless check was $150 or more.

Misdemeanor Obtaining Property by Worthless Check

It is a First Degree Misdemeanor to issue a worthless check in an amount less than $150.

If convicted of Misdemeanor Obtaining Property by Worthless Check, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to one (1) year in jail.
  • Up to one (1) year of probation.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.

Felony Obtaining Property by Worthless Check

It is a felony to issue a worthless check in an amount of $150 or more.

The crime of Felony Obtaining Property by Worthless Check is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 1 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Felony Obtaining Property by Worthless Check, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Defenses to Obtaining Property by Worthless Check

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check are:

Payee's Knowledge of Insufficient Funds

It is a defense to the crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check that the the payee knew, should have known, or was expressly notified that the payor had insufficient funds to cover the check at the time it was issued. [3]

Postdated Check

It is an absolute defense to the crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check that the check was postdated. [4]

Preexisting Debt

If a person issues a worthless check to satisfy a preexisting debt, then a person cannot be convicted of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check, but could still be convicted of misdemeanor Issuing Worthless Checks. [5]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Helms v. State, 128 So. 2d 756, 758 (Fla. 1st DCA 1961)
  2. State v. Bower, 341 So. 2d 216, 218 (Fla. 2d DCA 1976)
  3. Florida Statute 832.05(2)(b)
  4. Homeway v. Horne, 822 So. 2d 533, 535 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002)
  5. Duncan v. State, 135 So. 3d 361 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)