Programs
Programs

Bad Checks Diversion Program

Bad Checks Diversion Program

Receiving a worthless check for goods or services can be more than an inconvenience. You've suffered an immediate financial loss. Usually, your main concern is getting your restitution. The Bad Check Diversion Program (BCDP) is a diversion program designed to obtain restitution and a service fee for you, the complainant without processing the case through the criminal justice system.  A processing fee is paid by the check writer to help defray the costs of running the diversion program.  THERE IS NO FEE CHARGED TO YOU.

If a check writer does not comply with the BCDP, the case may be referred for possible prosecution through standard channels.

If you have received a worthless check, you can review the steps below to refer that check to our office. If you have questions, you may contact the Bad Check Diversion Program at the numbers listed below.

 

Mailing Address:

Bad Check Diversion Program
Office of the State Attorney
Post Office Box 17500
Clearwater, Florida 33762-0500

Telephone Numbers:

Pinellas: (727) 464-6011

New Port Richey: (727) 847-8158

Dade City: (352) 521-4333

 

How To Process A Worthless Check:

Below, please find the forms required to submit a worthless check to the State Attorney's Office. Please make copies of these forms and use them for all worthless check complaints. Copies are necessary to process worthless check complaints.

Please read this carefully before completing the affidavit.

  • Each check is a separate complaint and needs a complete set of forms specific to each check.
  • Please mail the following forms to our office:
    - Worthless Check Referral Sheet
    - Worthless Check Affidavit (signed under oath by the person who
      accepted the check and notarized)
    - Attach a LEGAL COPY of the check to the affidavit
    - Worthless Check Witness Form
  • A copy of the Notification letter with Affidavit of Service filled out or certified mail return receipt and the response from the post office.

The accurate completion of the forms listed above will ensure prompt processing of your complaints. We look forward to serving you in this capacity, and if you have any questions please contact us.

Note: Forged or stolen checks and checks marked "stop payment" must be handled through your local police department.

 

Procedures for Filing Criminal Charges in Worthless Check Cases

According to Chapter 832, Florida Statutes, it is necessary for businesses and individual citizens to follow specific steps in order to help effective criminal prosecution in worthless check cases.

I. Acceptance of the Check:

In order to establish identity, you must:

  • Obtain the driver's license number or state identification number, specifying the state of issuance of the person presenting the check;

or

  • Obtain the following information either on the check:

    • full name of the check writer
    • current residence address
    • home telephone number
    • business telephone number
    • place of employment
    • sex
    • date of birth
    • height

Pursuant to Florida Statute 832, no criminal charges can be filed in a worthless check case when the person accepting the check has been expressly notified, or has reason to believe that the check writer did not have on deposit or to his credit with the bank sufficient funds to ensure payment thereof. Accordingly, the State Attorney's Office cannot accept for prosecution any check which was accepted under the following circumstances:

  • The check was post dated.
  • When the writer of the check asks you and/or you agree to hold the check for any length of time before presenting it for payment.

NOTE: Forged or stolen checks or checks stamped "STOP PAYMENT" must be handled through your local law enforcement agency.

II. Notice to Customer that Worthless Check Has Been Issued:

When a check is dishonored you must send written notice to the check writer advising him/her that the check was dishonored. The content of this notice must be substantially as outlined in the sample notice. The notice must be sent to the check writer at the address on the check via certified mail with a return receipt requested or via U.S. Mail with an affidavit of service of mail.

III. Restitution and Service Charge:

A. The check writer has fifteen (15) days from the date of the above referenced notice within which to pay restitution in full including a service charge as follows:

Check Amount Restitution
$50 or less $25 plus check
$50.01 to $300 $30 plus check
$300.01 to $799.99 $40 plus check
$800+ 5% plus check

 

B. The worthless check may be referred to the State Attorney's Office only after restitution has not been paid within the fifteen (15) day period.

IV. Referring to the State Attorney's Office:

The Sixth Judicial Circuit State Attorney encompasses both Pasco and Pinellas Counties with offices in Clearwater, New Port Richey and Dade City. Each office can only handle checks that were received within the county's boundaries. In order to refer a worthless check case to the State Attorney's Office, you should mail the necessary paperwork to the State Attorney's Office, PO Box 17500, Clearwater, Florida 33762, or call 727-464-6011 in Clearwater, 727-847-8158 in New Port Richey, or 352-521-4333 in Dade City for an appointment.

V. Statute of Limitations:

It is imperative that all worthless check complaints are received no later than six months prior to the statute of limitations expiration. The statute of limitation for checks received for merchandise or services:

  • Less than $150 - two years from the date of the check;
  • Greater than or equal to $150 - three years from the date of the check.

The statute of limitation for checks received for rent or payment on account/debt:

  • Any amount - two years from the date of the check.

VI. Procedures Taken by the State Attorney's Office

After you have presented a worthless check to the State Attorney's Office your affidavit and accompanying paperwork will be reviewed for accuracy. If the check writer is eligible for BCDP, a Notice is mailed to him/her with a return date of approximately three weeks after the check has been processed by our office.

The Notice advises the check writer to submit a money order or cashier's check made payable to the complainant for the amount of the check plus the applicable service charge. If these conditions, along with other program conditions, are complied with, the case will be closed with no further criminal action taken. The restitution will be mailed to you with a pre-stamped, self-addressed receipt to return to the BCDP.

If the check writer fails to comply with the provisions of the BCDP or is ineligible for the BCDP, then the case may be referred for criminal prosecution.