Issuing Worthless Checks in Florida

Frequently referred to as check kiting or passing bad checks, issuing worthless checks is a crime in Florida.

If accused of Issuing Worthless Checks in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Issuing Worthless Checks

Under Florida Statute 832.05(2), the crime of Issuing Worthless Checks is committed when a person issues a check knowing that there are insufficient funds deposited with a bank to cover the check.

Nothing of Value Need be Exchanged

Unlike the crime of Obtaining Property by Worthless Check, issuing worthless checks is a crime regardless of whether anything of value was received in exchange for the check. [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 Issuing Worthless Checks

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

Misdemeanor Issuing Worthless Checks

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

If convicted of Misdemeanor Issuing Worthless Checks, 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 Issuing Worthless Checks

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

The crime of Felony Issuing Worthless Checks 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 Issuing Worthless Checks, 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 Issuing Worthless Checks

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Issuing Worthless Checks are:

Payee's Knowledge of Insufficient Funds

It is a defense to the crime of Issuing Worthless Checks 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 Checks

It is an absolute defense to the crime of Issuing Worthless Checks that the check was postdated. [4]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Issuing Worthless Checks 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. Greer v. Culver, 113 So. 2d 386, 387 (Fla. 1959)
  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)