Writing a bad check, under Florida law, can constitute a misdemeanor or a felony crime depending on the amount of money that was involved in the transaction. Just because someone has accidentally written a check for more money than they may have in their account does not mean that they can be brought up on criminal charges. One of the things that must be proven in a criminal trial is the knowledge that there was less money available then promised and the intent of defrauding someone else.
How can I defend against writing a bad check?
In order to prove that the check was submitted fraudulently, it must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that a check or other qualifying payment was issued to obtain things of monetary value with the knowledge that there were insufficient funds to pay and there was no arrangement made with a financial institution in order to pay in full.
For those that have been accused of writing a worthless check, there are a number of available defenses:
- Identity of the accused and casting doubt on their eligibility to write checks
- Nothing of value was obtained from the transaction
- Mistake instead of knowledge and intent
- Delay in depositing the check
- Payee knew there may be insufficient funds
- Overdraft protection
- Statute of limitations protections
There are two convictions for those charged with drawing a bad check. If the amount is less than $150, the accused can face a first degree misdemeanor and spend up to one year in jail. For offenses where the amount is over $150, the accused may face a third degree felony, which can be punished by up to five years behind bars.
If you or a loved one are being brought up on criminal charges in connection with writing a bad or worthless check, contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A immediately. With so many defenses available for those accused of this crime, there is no reason to let a mistake land you with a lifetime of criminal penalties.