Can I settle before court date?

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Can I settle before court date?

‘Hi I have received a summons to appear in court for writing 6 worthless checks they are being classified as misdemeanor A. I completely forgot about paying the business that these checks were sent back for NSF. I would like to pay these and avoid court all…’

Asked on January 8, 2017 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, once a summons is issued for misdemeanors, it cannot be settled outside of court--a criminal case, even for misdemeanors (the less serious category of crime) is not like a civil case which can be settled outside of court; and also, paying the checks at this time does not mean that you can necessarily avoid punishment or court, because the crime of passing bad checks has occured and is not "undone" by paying them now--the case can go foward even if you paid the checks.
Your best thing to do is to go to the court date, get there early, speak to the prosecutor, show contrition, and offer to pay the checks--the prosecutor has discretion to recommend to the judge (but to not order; that's why you have to go to court, since the *judge* has to make the final determination, in court, of what happens) that paying restitution (paying off the checks) is your punishment and that the case then be dismissed, or at least that you otherwise receive a minimal punishment and maybe have most of the charges be dismissed or downgraded (e.g. to disorderly persons offenses). So you may be able to get the charges dismissed by offering to pay, but it's not guaranteed and you won't know until court.


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