Issuing worthless checks in Florida is considered a serious crime and those who are convicted of this offense, which is commonly referred to as check kiting, can be sentenced to up to five years in prison. For this reason, it is critical that those who are accused of check kiting contact an experienced white collar crime attorney who may be able to get their charges reduced or even dismissed.
In Florida, a person can be charged with check kiting if he or she:
- Drafts a check; and
- Knew that there were not enough funds deposited in the bank to cover the amount.
Under the terms of state law, it is also a third degree felony to cash or deposit a worthless check in any bank. Furthermore, unlike similar offenses, a person can be convicted of check kiting even if he or she did not receive anything of value in exchange for the check. It will also be considered prima facie evidence that a defendant knew his or her bank account did not have enough funds to cover a check if he or she withdrew the funds necessary for payment within a reasonable time after the check was issued.
Penalties and Possible Defenses
Check kiting can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending on the amount of the check in question. For instance, if a check was in the amount of less than $150, a person can only be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, if a check is in the amount of $150 or more and the payee received something of value in return for it, the issuer can be charged with a third degree felony, which could mean a five year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
Fortunately, those who are accused of check kiting can argue a few specific defenses. For instance, if the recipient of the check knew or should have known that the person writing the check did not have enough funds to cover the amount when it was issued, the payor cannot be convicted of issuing a worthless check. Furthermore, if a check was postdated, a defendant can also escape conviction. Unfortunately, it does not constitute a defense to later pay a rejected check.
Schedule an Appointment With an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney Today
Aside from facing jail time and fines, a person convicted of check kiting may also be saddled with a criminal record, which can make it difficult to secure employment, find housing, or take advantage of educational opportunities. Having the support and guidance of an experienced attorney can make all the difference in how a case turns out, so if you have been charged with issuing worthless checks or a related crime, please contact one of the dedicated white collar crime attorneys at the law firm of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami by calling 305-670-9919. A member of our legal team can also be reached via live chat or email.