Florida law prohibits issuing bad checks, drafts and debit card orders or stopping payment on a check with the intent to defraud. The consequences for intentionally issuing worthless checks, drafts or debit orders may include fines, fees and possible imprisonment. If you have been charged with a worthless check crime in The Villages or any surrounding communities, contact Whittel & Melton to discuss you rights and options.
Stopping payment on a check valued at less than $150 is classified in Florida as a second-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Knowingly providing a check for less than $150 is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. In general, insufficient checks written for more than $150 are considered a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
When the bank denies payment of a check, a person or company must notify the writer of the check of the insufficient status. Upon receiving the notice, the writer of the check has 15 days to avoid prosecution by paying restitution and a service charge. A service charge is mandatory and can be calculated as follows:
- $25 if check value is not more than $50
- $30 if the check amount exceeds $50, but is less than $300
- $40 if the value of the check is more than $300, or 5% of the check amount
If no payment is made by the writer of the bad check within the 15 day grace period, the person or company the check was made out to can refer the case to the State Attorney’s Office.
By contacting Whittel & Melton we can guide you through several possible defenses to fight a worthless check criminal charge. You cannot be criminally prosecuted for issuing a bad check if the following scenarios apply to your situation:
- The check was not deposited in a timely manner. (Usually 30 days from the date the check was issued.)
- The check was illegible.
- The check was postdated.
- The recipient of the check agreed to hold the check for a period of time.
- The recipient of the check had knowledge the account the check was written from had deficient funds.
If you or someone you know has been accused of writing worthless checks, it is best to consult with The Villages Worthless Checks Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton right away. Our team of attorneys can assist you whether you have just received a notice that your check was dishonored by the bank or if a civil or criminal lawsuit is already underway. We can provide you with the information you need to understand to avoid a conviction and harsh financial and criminal consequences. If you or a loved one is facing a bad check charge in The Villages or anywhere in Marion, Sumter or Lake County, contact Whittel & Melton today online or dial us at 352-369-5334 for a free consultation.