My client used to live in Florida with her ex-boyfriend. His dog was sick and she took it to the animal hospital. She paid for the services with two of his business checks per his instruction. They broke up soon thereafter and she left the state of Florida. She had no idea that the checks bounced. No one ever notified her or her ex-boyfriend about the debt. Instead, the case was sent to the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office. They filed two felony charges against her for writing worthless checks and issued two warrants. The warrants were active and pending for over 20 years.
Over the past 20 years, my client got married and started a family. In the spring of 2022, she and her husband went on a cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale. When they arrived back in port, customs was waiting for her. They told her about the old charges and took her to jail. Her husband hired a bail bondsman and posted the bond. It was a horrible experience and the first time that she had ever been to jail.
She wound up researching criminal defense lawyers in Pinellas County from her home state and found me. I entered my appearance and got the old files. It turned out that the address and name on the checks was not hers. She had no idea that there wasn’t money in the account and there was never any attempt to notify her. I explained all of the circumstances to the prosecutor. I even offered to have my client pay the old checks. After a couple of months of investigation, the prosecutor agreed that the charges could not be proven. The two worthless check charges were dropped by the filing of a nolle prosequi. My client never had to come back to Florida and her record is still clean.