Stopping Payment on a Check with Intent to Defraud
Under Florida Statute 832.041, a crime is committed if a person presents a check in order to obtain goods or services and at the time the check is presented, the person intends to defraud the merchant by later canceling payment on the check. These charges are slightly different from a criminal charge for obtaining property from a worthless check.
The most common defense to this charge is that at the moment the check is presented, the person has no intention of canceling payment on the check (therefore lacking any intent to defraud), and only decided to cancel payment at some later time for some legitimate reason.
At the Sammis Law Firm, our lawyers represent individuals charged under Florida Statute 832.041 for stopping payment on check with intent to defraud throughout the Tampa Bay area, including in Tampa or Plant City, Hillsborough County, Clearwater or St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Brooksville, Hernando County, Dade City or New Port Richey, Pasco County, FL.
Stopping Payment Charged as a Misdemeanor or Felony
If the amount of the check is less than $150.00, then the charge is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail or 6 months probation. If the value of the check is $150.00 or more, than the offense is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison.
Elements of the Fraudulent Check Offense
Under Florida Statute Section 832.041, the following elements must be proven at trial beyond all reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant, did utter, deliver, give, make, or draw;
- Any check, draft or written order;
- By doing the acts in person or by an agent;
- For payment of money upon any bank, person or corporation;
- Secured from such person goods or services for or on account of such check, draft or written order;
- The defendant stopped payment on any check, draft or written order; and
- While acting pursuant to and in furtherance of intent to defraud.
Fraudulent Check for Property Subject to a Lien
Many of these cases in Florida involve someone presenting a check to a person who is holding property subject to a lien such as an automotive mechanic, or veterinarian. In fact, another statute, Florida Statute 713.58(3) reads:
In that the possessory right and lien of the person performing labor or services under this section is released, relinquished, and lost by the removal of such property upon which a lien has accrued, it shall be deemed prima facie evidence of intent to defraud if, upon the removal of such property, the person removing such property utters, delivers, or gives any check, draft, or written order for the payment of money in payment of the indebtedness secured by the lien and then stops payment on such check, draft, or written order.
If you have been charged with this serious criminal offense, contact criminal defense lawyers at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the details of your case to determine the best way to fight the theft charges and protect your liberty by avoiding a criminal prosecution. Call (813) 250-0500 today.