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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My son is charged with Criminal Trespass 1 unjustly. The

Customer Question

My son is charged with Criminal Trespass 1 unjustly. The next door neighbors moved out of town and left their dog 3 days, which was barking, so he went over to see if he could help the dog, who was in the kitchen. The back door was unlocked so he went inside. The dog was happy to see him and quit barking, but had no food or water; nor were there any empty doggie dishes. He decided to go home to get dog food and water but as he was leaving the neighbors came in the front door and called the police. My son has had ADHD all his life (he is now 62) and unable to talk to people w/out stammering so I guess the cop didn't believe him. The neighbors claimed they had been coming back daily to get more things and look after the dog. My son thought he could file an affidavit under Option 4 and asked for my help but he contacted the Court Clerk and she said that was only for traffic violations. She said he must appear in Oct. and plead not guilty and ask for a trial by either jury or judge. He is medically unable to do this as he might blow his stack for five minutes and be put in jail. Does he qualify for the charge to be expunged if he sends an affidavit to the other judge in town, which is called Justice Court?
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And when did this happen?
Customer: This happened on 13 Sept. in Reedsport, Oregon. His appearance is to be ** Oct. in Municipal Court.
JA: Have you talked to a laywer yet?
Customer: No. In this case why should he need one? He is unable to keep a job so his doctor got him on medical disability. He cannot afford a lawyer.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes. He has good neighbors on the other side of his house who have a dog and a cat. My son does also, and if either of them want to leave town the dog goes next door and house keys are loaned so the cat can be cared for. This is why he didn't think about not going inside to check on the other neighbor's dog, since the door was unlocked.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Hello, My name is ***** ***** I will assist you today. Please give me a few minutes to write a response and identify any additional resources for you.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

I am very sorry to learn about this situation.

Unfortunately, your son needs to deal with the charges in the court that has the case file assigned to it (filing an affidavit in the other court will not help him, and he needs to make an appearance at the court date or the judge will be forced to issue a "Failure to Appear" thus complicating his problems).

However, the first appearance is very simple - it is a "preliminary hearing" your son's only job is to plead "guilty" or "not guilty" (I recommend pleading "not guilty" as this gives him an opportunity to contest the matter (and hopefully get a lawyer to help negotiate the charges with the DA).

If he were to plead "guilty" the judge would simply enter a conviction for the crime as charged and issue the penalty (probably a fine and maybe probation).

I would also recommend that you contact your County Public Defender's Office - your son may not qualify for a public defender based on the nature of the criminal charges alone, but based on his disability the department may be able to offer representation (or provide him with resources for low cost or free representation for this relatively simple (for an attorney) matter).

You do not want your son "blowing his stack" at either the preliminary or the actual hearing - so having a lawyer representing him is in his best interest.

If he cannot get a public defender, I would highly recommend paying a private defense attorney to represent your son (again, this is a relatively simple matter and a criminal defense attorney shouldn't charge a lot of money for this, but a lawyer is the best option to help negotiate down the charges against your son).

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Well, "Get a lawyer" is about what I expected to hear and is not worth more than five bucks. Consider that most traffic violations involve driving, which means there is a risk to the public during the time the affidavit is being written and sent in to the Court. In this case there is no risk to the public because there was no intent to do anything wrong. He is a religious person and the Bible tells us to love and help our neighbors. I should be allowed to explain all the circumstances, which includes a lack of communication on the part of these ex-neighbors. All they had to tell him was that they were leaving the dog but would be back for him. So don't bill me any more than five dollars just for telling me he can't switch courts. All I need is a hearing aid so I can understand the judge, who has a soft voice and no mic. I'm age 91, by the way. Audios. Bernice
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Please understand I mean this with all respect to you and your faith (I am telling you this because I truly do not want your son to face unnecessary criminal charges due to an ineffective defense) but please understand that raising a biblical defense for your son is not in his best interest.

You cannot represent your son in court unless you are a licensed attorney (the best you may be permitted to do is help him understand what is going on).

Trying to send in your son (or you trying to speak on his behalf) to explain what happened (particularly at a preliminary hearing) is not going to help his case.

This is most certainly not a traffic violation, and comparisons between the two are not going to be helpful to your son's matter.

I am telling you to "hire a lawyer" because your son needs one to negotiate a plea bargain with the DA - neither you, nor your son, can do this for him. So, there are things that the lawyer can do that the two of you cannot.

If you do not want to pay more than the deposit for services, that is fine, I am more concerned with helping your son as best as possible with this matter (and I am trying to explain why he needs a lawyer here).