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In Florida, the crime of Stopping Payment on a Check is committed when a person, with the intent to engage in fraud, delivers a check in order to secure goods or services and, in furtherance of such intent to defraud, subsequently stops payment on the check. Stopping Payment on a Check is a serious offense, not only because of the penalties it carries, but because of the devastating impact the charge will have on a person’s reputation and employment prospects.
If you have been accused in Florida of Stopping Payment on Check, you may have defenses available to contest the charge or minimize potential penalties. Contact our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys at Hussein & Webber, PL for a free consultation.
Under Section 832.041, Florida Statutes, stopping payment on a check, draft, or other written payment order can be charged as a criminal offense if the check was issued and payment was stopped with the intent to defraud the other party to the transaction.
In Florida, the crime of Stopping Payment on a Check consists of five elements, which the prosecution must prove beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt:
Under Florida law, Stopping Payment on a Check can be classified as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the amount of the check. If the amount is $150 or more, the offense can be charged as a third degree felony, with penalties of up 5 years in jail and a $5,000 fine. If the amount is less than $150, the offense is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
There are many defenses available to contest a charge of Stopping Payment on Check. One example concerns the prosecution’s ability to prove the element of fraud. As discussed above, the intent to defraud is a required element of the charge. It must be proven to exist both at the time the check is issued and at the time payment is stopped on the check. Byrd v. State, 867 So. 2d 1260, 1261 (Fla.1st DCA 2004). If the required proof is lacking, a conviction for stopping payment can not be sustained. This will often be the case where an accused stops payment on a check because of a dispute with the seller or service provider, or because of dissatisfaction with the quality of a good or service.
A Florida prosecution for Stopping Payment on a Check with the Intent to Defraud is a serious matter with devastating repercussions for your personal, professional, and financial future. If you have been accused, you may have defenses available to contest the charge or minimize the potential penalties. Contact our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney today for a free consultation.
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