Worthless Bank Checks

Under Florida law, it is illegal for any person or company to obtain goods or services by means of a written order (like a check), while knowing that there are insufficient funds to fulfill the transaction. This is the crime of obtaining property by worthless check. However, even if no goods or services are exchanged, a crime still occurs. Writing and issuing a worthless check is a crime even if nothing of value is exchanged during the process. The law can apply to a wide variety of transactions and orders, including debit cards. However, the most common crime prosecuted under this law is issuing worthless checks. At Pallegar Law, P.A., we are knowledgeable Hillsborough Fraud Attorneys will help you resolve a worthless check avoiding a conviction and possible jail time.

Issuing a worthless bank check is a first-degree misdemeanor if the written order is in the amount of $150 or less, or its equivalent. This can be punishable by one year in jail. Issuing a worthless bank check worth more than $150 is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

If you have been charged or think you may be charged with the crime of issuing a worthless check, call an aggressive Fraud Attorney in Hillsborough County so you can explore your options. Many times, cooperation and payment of restitution can save you time and money over the long run, as well as save you from a conviction on your criminal record.

Worthless check crimes are often complicated, and as a result, there are several defenses available. In order to commit the crime, you must have issued the check while knowing that there are insufficient funds. A person who issues a bad check unknowingly does not commit this crime. Here’s an example. Person A is under a lot of financial and personal stress. They make a mistake balancing their checkbook, and end up issuing a check that they do not have the funds for. However, when Person A wrote and issued the check, they believed there were sufficient funds to cover the transaction. Person A would not be guilty of obtaining property with a worthless check in Tampa.

Here’s another example. Person B writes a check to pay their rent. They know that there are insufficient funds to cover that transaction, but they believe that their overdraft protection will cover it. When the check was written, Person B believed there was sufficient credit to cover the payment. Both Person A and B wrote and issued worthless checks, but both believed that the checks were good therefore would not be guilty of writing a worthless check.

Postdated checks cannot be prosecuted as worthless checks. It is understood that a postdated check means that funds will not be available until the future date indicated. This is a common defense to worthless check charges. If you have been charged or think you may be charged with the crime of issuing a worthless check, call our team at Pallegar Law, P.A. to be connected to an experienced Hillsborough fraud attorney who can help you explore all defenses available.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A. at 813-444-3912 (Tampa) or 941-893-5816 (Sarasota) to explore schedule a free consultation today.

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