Have you ever received a check that you couldn’t cash or deposit? These checks are often returned with the designation “NSF,” which is simply an accronym for “non-sufficient funds.” It’s not only a real frustration to deal with, but can severely hurt your business.
In common-speak, we call these “bad checks.” Interestingly, in the State of Florida there is a cause of action for just that — Bad Check — and it could mean not only a requirement that the bad check sender pay up money to the intended recipient, but can also carry criminal penalties.
Private practice lawyers don’t charge individuals with crimes. Instead, the State of Florida could potentially take action, on a criminal basis, against the sender of a bad check.
“Florida law gives the authority to prosecute the crime of passing worthless bank checks to the State Attorneys of Florida’s 20 Judicial Circuits,” states a page from the Florida Attorney General’s Office. “The proper judicial circuit for the prosecution of this crime is usually the circuit in which the check was presented and accepted. The law requires that certain steps be taken by the recipient of a ‘worthless check’ before the State Attorney begins prosecution.”
But you may be more concerned, at least initially, in recovering the money that you were owed and, if possible, having your attorney’s fees and costs in the collection process paid for. That is where we can help.
Florida’s Bad Check Statute — F.S. 68.065 — says that if you provide a written demand that the money under the bad check be paid and the money isn’t paid within 30 days, then you may be entitled to 3 times the amount initially owed. Additionally, court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees may be reimbursable. Furthermore, you can charge up to 5% of the face amount that was due as a service fee.
Don’t let someone get away with sending you a bad check. Contact us if you want more information about how we can help.