A lot of attorneys will boast about dismissed cases pursuant to diversion or stays of adjudications. This is a part of the lawyer skillset, and often requires a great deal of work, however, it’s not a reflection of an attorney’s ability to make effective legal arguments in court.
Recently I had a dishonored check case come through my office, an example of an uncommon crime charge. Due to its rarity, many courts and even prosecutors charging the case lack familiarity with the caselaw surrounding the statute. Just legal representation cannot be made on the bearings of misunderstanding, so let’s take a look at the Minnesota Statute.
Detailing Dishonored Check Case Law Under the Minnesota Statute
Minnesota Statute 609.535 (Dishonored Check Statute) states, “Whoever issues a check which, at the time of issuance, the issuer intends shall not be paid, is guilty of issuing a dishonored check and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision.” However, under this same statute, there is an exception for past consideration. If you make a payment after receiving products/services, this constitutes as past consideration.
Subdivision five of Minnesota Statute 609.535 states, “this section does not apply to a postdated check or to a check given for a past consideration, except a payroll check or a check issued to a fund for employee benefits.” It’s expected that the charging county attorney’s office would be aware of these legal exceptions, however, in my client’s case, they were not familiar with these details.
Not only the county attorney’s office, but also by the judge who signed off on the complaint. The issue reached the Minnesota Supreme Court in State v. Schouweiler. The Minnesota Court of Appeals concurred that such an interpretation would be inappropriate. It’s the court’s job to interpret the entirety of the caselaw outlined in the statute. Consequently, the Minnesota State Law corrected the Court of Appeals and held the Court must interpret the statute as written. As such, past consideration means the transaction must not be contemporaneous. The Minnesota Supreme Court indicated to be prosecuted, the check issuer must induce the sale for a check.
Criminally Liable under Minnesota Statute 609.535 (Dishonored Check Statute):
Check issuer writes a bad check to a grocery store for food items before receiving items.
Not Criminally Liable under Minnesota Statute 609.535 (Dishonored Check Statute):
Check issuer writes a bad check to a plumber after services occur.
Successful Dismissal of a Felony Charge for a Bounced Check
In my client’s case, she was being charged with a felony for a bounced check given to a veterinary provider. She had not received her employer’s funds on payday as expected, causing the check to bounce. While the client’s efforts were benevolent, she could still be convicted under these facts alone. In my research, I needed to prove that her case fell under past consideration, which it indeed did.
There was no reason to go to trial when she could get her case dismissed without one. My research revealed that her situation did not amount to charges. I’m an avid animal lover and have never paid in advance for veterinary services. Payment is typically due upon completion.
The services were finished prior to payment, which proves by law past consideration. I filed a motion and the prosecutor dismissed the case soon after without a trial or any further action.
Consult Affordable Criminal Defense Lawyer Maxwell Shek for Dismissal of Uncommon Crime Cases
If my client went elsewhere for representation, I’m confident she may have been talked into a plea agreement, maybe a stay of adjudication. Under the detailed case law, there was no reason for her case to continue since it clearly fell under the statute’s exceptions.
Choosing the right Beltrami County dishonored check criminal defense attorney for your situation can change the entire trajectory of your criminal case. If you are charged with an uncommon crime, it’s even more important to consult an affordable criminal defense attorney that understands every detail of the relevant case law.
In my client’s situation, a potential felony charge was fully dismissed with zero repercussions on her behalf. In the case of an uncommon crime, my office takes diligent steps to thoroughly research every detail of the law.
Here at Shek Law, it’s our mission is to provide affordable criminal defense representation and seek out dismissal from the start. The majority of criminal cases do not result in dismissal, but we will never go in looking for a plea agreement. If you or a loved one has been charged under Minnesota Statute 609.535, call my office today to set up a consultation. We’re ready to give you the representation you deserve.