Making a Worthless Check and Obtaining Property with a Worthless Check - Florida Statute 832.05

Florida Statute 832.05 – Making a Worthless Check and Obtaining Property with a Worthless Checkmaking a worthless check

Florida Statute Chapter 832 lists all sorts of crimes regarding checks. The statute that is frequently used to prosecute individuals who write out worthless checks is 832.05. This statute has multiple subsections that prohibit different types of check, draft, and debit card crimes. Two of the more common crimes that people are charged with under this statute are (1) making a worthless check and (2) obtaining property with a worthless check.

Making a Worthless Check

This statute specifically prohibits anyone from making a check out knowing there is not enough money, or overdraft protection, on the account to pay for the check.

What the State Prosecutor Has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of This Crime

The state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) The defendant drew, made, uttered, issued, or delivered a check;

(2) When the defendant did this, there was not enough money in the bank account to pay the check;

(3) The defendant knew when he wrote the check that he did not have enough money in the bank account;

(4) The defendant knew he had no arrangement or understanding (overdraft protection) with the bank for the payment of the check when it was presented; and

(5) The check value was below $150 or above it; and

(6) Either:

  1. The defendant wrote the bad check to himself and gave the bad check to another person in exchange for goods; or
  2. The first receiver of the bad check exchanged the bad check to another person in exchange for money or goods that had value.
Defenses

There are some defenses available. One defense that is available is the defendant notified the receiver at the time the check was written that there were not enough funds in the bank to pay. For example, Bob would have a defense if he told Sam that he was getting paid on Friday and that Sam could cash the check after that date. Sam was on notice that Bob did not have enough money before Friday. In a business setting, if Bob told Sam’s employee that they couldn’t cash the check until after the Friday payday. If the employee forgot to tell Sam and Sam cashed the check, Bob would have a defense because the employee’s knowledge carries over to Sam as well. However, this might be hard to prove in court that the employee was told.

Another defense is that the check had a date sometime in the future from the date the check was actually exchanged. This would put the party on notice that they were to cash the check at that date or later; otherwise, there might be insufficient funds.

There is one defense that cannot be raised. A  Delray Beach Worthless Check Defense Attorney cannot use the history of previous bad checks as evidence that the other party was on notice that there might be insufficient funds in the account.

Punishment

If the check amount was under $150, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 365 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the value is $150 or more, the crime is a third-degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. This crime is ranked as level 1 out of 10 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.

Obtaining Property with a Worthless Check

The previous subsection of the statute prohibited individuals making worthless checks while this subsection prohibits anyone using a worthless check to obtain goods, services, or other things of value. The difference between the two is that a the check writer is necessarily committing the crime for writing a worthless check while someone other than the writer could be trying to obtain property with a worthless check. For example, if a person received a bad check, he could try and pass the check off to another person.

What the State Prosecutor Has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of This Crime

The state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) The defendant drew, made, uttered, issued, or delivered a check;

(2) The defendant did so to obtain services, goods, or other things of value;

(3) Those things had some monetary value;

(4) When the defendant did this, there was not enough money on deposit in the bank to pay the check;

(5) The defendant knew when the check was written there was not sufficient money on deposit with the bank; and

(6) The defendant knew there was no arrangement or understanding (overdraft protection) with the bank for the payment of the check when it was presented.

Florida Statute 832.07 provides that if the check is not honored with appropriate extra fees within 15 days of receiving notice, the bad check can be used as prima facie evidence that the person intended to defraud. What this means is that there is a rebuttable presumption that the defendant intended to defraud but a Delray Beach Worthless Check Defense Attorney can disprove it with evidence. An example of a rebuttable presumption is the defendant is presumed innocent until proved guilty.

Defenses

One defense that can be raised is that the defendant notified the person trying to cash the check that there were not enough funds in the bank account at the time the check was given. For example, Tony could tell the plumber he needed his plumbing fixed and he would give him a check, but it could only be cashed after this Friday. The plumber or anyone in the company is on notice that there might be insufficient funds before Friday.

Payment of the bounced check cannot be used as grounds for dismissal of the case.

Punishment

If the value of the check was below $150, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 365 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If the check was for $150 or more, the crime is a third-degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.

These cases can be defended. Call our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We will discuss the facts with you and let you know of the legal defenses that are available. We will craft a defense strategy from those facts. We will find out what evidence the prosecutor has against you and what the police officers and witnesses observed regarding the situation. All this evidence will be used to negotiate with the prosecutor to have the charges dropped. If needed, we will take your case all the way to trial to argue for your acquittal.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is an important matter. Our criminal attorneys focus on criminal matters in the South Florida area. We will aggressively defend you and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

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