This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Gregory William Fox,
Filed September 18, 2001
Jay M. Heffern, Minneapolis City Attorney, Paula J. Kruchowski, Assistant City Attorney, 333 South Seventh Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)
Robert M. Christensen, Robert M. Christensen, P.L.C., Barristers Trust Building, 247 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Shumaker, Judge, and Lindberg, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
SCHUMACHER, ROBERT H., Judge
Appellant Gregory William Fox challenges the district court's denial of his motion to dismiss the charge of refusal to submit to a chemical test, arguing that he reserved his rights under UCC § 1-207 and therefore the state criminal law does not apply. We affirm.
On May 13, 2000, a Minneapolis police officer stopped Fox and arrested him for driving under the influence. The officer read Fox the implied consent advisory, and Fox refused chemical testing. Fox was charged with driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a chemical test, driving after cancellation, and aggravated driving violation. The state dismissed three of the counts and proceeded on the charge of refusal to submit to a chemical test. Fox moved to dismiss the charge, claiming the district court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate him under Minnesota law because he reserved his rights under UCC § 1-207, and therefore the common law applies.
A reviewing court is not bound by and need not give deference to a trial court's decision on a purely legal issue. Frost-Benco Elec. Ass'n v. Minnesota Pub. Utils. Comm'n, 358 N.W.2d 639, 642 (Minn. 1984). This court reviews jurisdictional questions de novo. State v. R.M.H., 617 N.W.2d 55, 58 (Minn. 2000).
Fox claims that the state attempted to enter into a contract with him when it issued him an identification card, but the contract lacked mutual assent because Fox signed his identification card in protest by writing "UCC § 1-207" after his signature. Minnesota's version of UCC § 1-207 states that:
A party who, with explicit reservation of rights, performs or promises performance or assents to performance in a manner demanded or offered by the other party does not thereby prejudice the rights reserved. Such words as "without prejudice," "under protest" or the like are sufficient.
Minn. Stat. § 336.1-207(1) (2000),
The Uniform Commercial Code Article 2 applies to commercial transactions in the sale of goods. Minn. Stat. § 336.2-102 (2000). Adherence to state law is not governed by contract. The state of Minnesota has jurisdiction over people who commit crimes in Minnesota:
A person may be convicted and sentenced under the law of this state if the person:
(1) Commits an offense in whole or in part within this state; or
(2) Being without the state, causes, aids or abets another to commit a crime within the state; or
(3) Being without the state, intentionally causes a result within the state prohibited by the criminal laws of this state.
Minn. Stat. § 609.025 (2000). Fox committed an offense within the state of Minnesota and was subject to Minnesota law.
Fox also argues that since he reserved his rights under the UCC and the UCC is complementary to common law, common law takes precedence over the statute. See Minn. Stat. § 336.1-103 (2000) (common law supplements the code unless displaced by particular provisions). Fox's attorney stated that:
My client believes that he is free under common law to do anything he pleases as long as he does not infringe on the life, liberty and happiness of someone else. The conduct that has been alleged and charged did not do that in his opinion and no one was – he didn't run into anybody, he didn't hit anybody, no one was injured. The State has not produced an injured party so under the common law the Court should find him not guilty.
Fox claims that under the common law, an action exists only after there has been a loss or damage, and the state must produce an injured party to lawfully prosecute him. Because the state did not produce an injured party, Fox claims, the court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate and sentence him. The district court, however, found that it was "irrelevant whether there was an injured party under the statute," because the court had jurisdiction and the criminal statute was valid and enforceable. We agree. Common law crimes have been abolished in Minnesota, and no act or omission is a crime in this state unless made so by the statutes. Minn. Stat. § 609.015, subd. 1 (2000).
Criminal law in Minnesota is governed by the Minnesota statutes, and the UCC is not applicable. The district court properly found that the court had jurisdiction.