Can I settle before court date?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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