Worthless Checks in Florida | Law Offices of Aaron Resnick

Dealing with Worthless Checks in Florida: Legal Guidance from the Law Offices of Aaron Resnick

Writing worthless checks, also known as bad checks, is a serious issue that can have significant legal repercussions. In Florida, issuing a worthless check can result in both civil and criminal penalties. At the Law Offices of Aaron Resnick, we understand the complexities involved in these cases and are committed to providing comprehensive legal support to individuals and businesses affected by worthless checks.

What is a Worthless Check?

A worthless check is a check that cannot be honored by the bank due to insufficient funds, a closed account, or a stop payment order. These checks are not only a breach of trust but can also lead to financial losses and legal challenges for the recipients.

Legal Implications of Worthless Checks in Florida

In Florida, the law treats the issuance of worthless checks as both a civil and criminal matter. According to Florida Statutes Section 832.05, it is illegal to issue a check knowing that there are insufficient funds in the account. The penalties vary depending on the amount of the check and the circumstances surrounding the issuance.

Criminal Penalties

  • Misdemeanor: If the worthless check is less than $150, it is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties may include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

  • Felony: If the check is $150 or more, it is a third-degree felony. Penalties can include up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Civil Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties, the issuer of a worthless check may be liable for civil damages. The recipient of the bad check can file a civil lawsuit to recover the amount of the check, along with additional damages, court costs, and attorney fees.

Steps to Take When You Receive a Worthless Check

Receiving a worthless check can be frustrating and financially damaging. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Contact the Issuer: Notify the issuer about the bounced check. This can sometimes resolve the issue without further action.

  • Send a Demand Letter: Florida law requires that you send a written demand for payment before taking legal action. This letter should include the amount owed, any service charges, and a deadline for payment (usually 30 days).

  • File a Police Report: If the issuer does not respond to your demand letter, you can file a police report. Law enforcement can investigate the matter and potentially file criminal charges.

  • Pursue Civil Action: If the criminal route does not yield results, you can file a civil lawsuit to recover the amount of the check and additional damages.

How the Law Offices of Aaron Resnick Can Help

Dealing with worthless checks requires a thorough understanding of both criminal and civil law. The Law Offices of Aaron Resnick offer expert legal services to help you navigate these complex issues. Our team can assist with:

  • Demand Letters: We can draft and send effective demand letters to the issuer of the worthless check, outlining the necessary steps for resolution.

  • Negotiations: Our attorneys can negotiate with the issuer to seek a settlement and avoid court proceedings.

  • Litigation: If necessary, we are prepared to represent you in court to recover the funds owed and any additional damages.

  • Criminal Defense: If you are accused of issuing a worthless check, we can provide a robust defense to protect your rights and minimize penalties.

Preventing Worthless Checks

Preventing worthless checks is crucial for maintaining financial stability. Here are some tips:

  • Verify Funds: Before accepting a check, verify that the issuer has sufficient funds in their account.

  • Use Electronic Payments: Encourage customers to use electronic payment methods, which can reduce the risk of bounced checks.

  • Implement a Check Acceptance Policy: Establish clear policies for accepting checks, including identification requirements and check verification procedures.

Handling worthless checks can be a challenging and time-consuming process. At the Law Offices of Aaron Resnick, we are dedicated to providing the legal support and guidance you need to address these issues effectively. Whether you are a business owner dealing with a bounced check or an individual facing accusations of issuing a worthless check, our experienced attorneys are here to help. Contact us today at (305) 672-7495 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.

Areas we Serve in Florida

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following localities: Miami-Dade County including Aventura, Miami, Coral Gables, Doral, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, Westchester, and North Miami Beach; Broward County including Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Hallandale Beach, Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including West Palm Beach