When a consumer in Florida writes a check to pay for property or services without the necessary funds to cover the payment, it is commonly referred to as a worthless check (these are also occasionally called hot checks, rubber checks, or bounced checks). When a check is returned to the payee (the party who received the payment) for insufficient funds or other account issues, the party that wrote the check could face criminal charges.
Many people who write worthless checks had absolutely no criminal intent when making their payments. In most cases, alleged offenders may have forgotten about additional account deductions or simply mismanaged their finances by honest oversight.Lawyer for Worthless Checks in Miami-Dade County, FL
If you have been arrested for allegedly writing a hot check in Florida, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm can help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.
Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents clients accused of white collar crimes in Hialeah, Miami Beach, Opa-locka, South Miami, and many other areas in Miami-Dade County. Call (305) 249-0090 today to receive a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and explore your legal options.
North Miami Worthless Checks Information Center
- What needs to be proven in order for a person to be convicted of knowingly bouncing a check?
- What are the possible consequences of writing bad checks?
- Where can I learn more about worthless checks in Miami-Dade County?
Florida Worthless Check Charges
The penalties for writing rubber checks are established under Florida Statute § 832.05. The statute applies to paper checks as well as drafts, bills of exchange, debit card orders, and other written money orders for payment.
Chapter 17.4 of the Florida Jury Instructions the following elements a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict an alleged offender of obtaining property or services in return for worthless checks, drafts, or debit card orders:
- The alleged offender drew, made, uttered, issued, or delivered a check, draft, or debit card order;
- The alleged offender did so to obtain services, goods, wares, or some other thing of value alleged;
- The services, goods, wares, or some other thing of value alleged had some monetary value;
- When the alleged offender did so, there was not sufficient money on deposit in the bank to pay the check, draft, or debit card order;
- The alleged offender knew when the check, draft, or debit card order was written there was not sufficient money on deposit with the bank; and
- The alleged offender knew there was no arrangement or understanding with the bank for the payment of the check when it was presented.
The jury instructions also state that an alleged offender must be found not guilty if the defense has proven that the payee knew that the alleged offender’s funds and credit at the bank at the time the check was given were insufficient to pay the check or the payee had good reason to believe that the alleged offender’s funds and credit at the bank at the time the check was given were insufficient to pay the check.
Worthless Check Penalties in Miami-Dade County
The criminal penalties for bouncing a check depend on the value of the check, draft, or debit card order drew, made, uttered, issued, or delivered:
- Less Than $150 — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000; or
- $150 or More — Third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to possible incarceration and fines, alleged offenders can also be subject to civil penalties for writing bad checks. Under Florida Statute § 68.065, an alleged offender who fails to pay the amount owed within 30 days of receiving a written demand for the owed amount may can be liable for all of the following in addition to the amount owed:
- Treble damages (triple the amount of the actual damages);
- Courts costs; and
- Reasonable attorney fees.
Florida Resources for Worthless Checks
Bad Checks | Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney — The State Attorney’s Office in Miami-Dade County has a restitution program for alleged worthless check offenders that allows them to avoid criminal prosecution by attending a mandatory eight-hour intervention class and paying restitution to the alleged victim(s). You can submit a bad check complaint form on this website. You can also find check screening and check acceptance tips.
Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney
E.R. Graham Building
1350 NW 12th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136
Florida Attorney General | How to Protect Yourself: Worthless Bank Checks — Learn more about how different kinds of worthless checks are handled in Florida on this section of the Attorney General’s website. You can find out how the state handles different designations on worthless checks (“NSF” (non-sufficient funds), “Account Not Found,” “NSF Unless Otherwise Indicated,” “Refer To Maker,” “Uncollected Funds” or “Stop Payment”) and what to do if you are the victim of a worthless check. You can also find information relating to what you can do to protect yourself against being victimized by worthless checks.
Were you arrested for allegedly writing a bad check in Florida? You should not delay in contacting The Hoffman Firm for legal assistance in fighting the criminal charges.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who helps clients all over Miami-Dade County, including Key Biscayne, Aventura, Coral Gables, North Miami, and several nearby communities. You can have him review your case during a free consultation as soon as you call (305) 249-0090 or submit an online contact form today.