In my jurisdiction, one of the criteria for de minimis is this:

The court may dismiss a prosecution if, upon notice to or motion of the prosecutor and opportunity to be heard, having regard to the nature of the conduct alleged and the nature of the attendant circumstances, it finds the defendant's conduct:


C. Presents such other extenuations that it cannot reasonably be regarded as envisaged by the Legislature in defining the crime.


Is that a typical way to get your offense to be considered "de minimis"? That seems like a rather glaring hole.

Please include in your answer what is typical of "de minimis", whether or not my jurisdiction's criteria is typical, and at least one odd example of where the concept of "de minimis" has been applied especially if it is with regard to my jurisdiction's criterion.

1 Answer 1


A reasonable hypothetical example of where your clause "C" would be applied: A defendant is written a citation for "spitting on the sidewalk," in violation of a hypothetical Portland city ordinance. In presenting extenuating details, the defendant indicates that the expectoration occurred because she had taken a bite of vended food that was belatedly discovered to have been infested with maggots.

The notion of encountering rotted food would clearly not have been contemplated by the definition of the "spitting on the sidewalk" ordinance, where the notion of having a cheekful of chewing tobacco definitely would be.

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