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I had a dispute with a female neighbor over a basketball hoop directly in front of my home.

Harrisburg, OR |

My wife said they were hitting my truck with the ball. She shot the ball and hit it while I was outside. I grabbed the ball and she yanked it out of my hands, this happened a second time. She shot the ball and it rolled towards her three year old daughter. I picked the ball up without touching the child. The Mother called the police and and said I hit the child and took the ball from her. I was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment. This was on June 19, 2013. Yesterday, June 20, I was lying in our bedroom watching TV . My wife was arguing with a different neighbor and went outside there was some name calling and after about a minute I escorted my wife back into our house. There was no physical contact. Ms. Swanger told the Police I touched her daughter.

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Attorney answers 3


Not sure you had a question in thtat narrative, but it appears you have been charged with one offense and may be charged again--in the span of 24 hours. Recommend you:
(1) You and your wife stop engaging the neighbors in arguments--right or wrong, it appears you are going to end up getting charged with something. Its not important that you win every argument you are in. It is important (at least to many people) to say off the police radar and stay ouf of jail.

(2) IMMEDIATELY contact a criminal defense attorney to detemine what if any defenses you might raise.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.


You haven't asked a question here, which makes it harder to give an answer. (Please see this Guide: .) However, here is what you must do:

First, do not talk to this person again, or have any contact with her. If you see her coming, go the other way. Do not invite further accusations.

Second, email the site admins and ask them to take down this post, or at least edit it to remove this person's name. You should never, ever post your name, or the name of someone else in a legal dispute, on the internet. This is not a secure forum. It's open for everyone to see. So this could be found and traced back to you, and used against you somehow.

Finally, and most importantly, consult with a criminal defense attorney in private. It sounds like you're charged with a crime, for which you absolutely must have counsel to defend yourself. Until you do this, do not discuss this matter with anyone else. That includes discussing it on the internet, and it especially includes talking to the police. DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. If they try to talk to you, you must say "I'm sorry, but I don't want to answer any questions or consent to any searches, and I'd like to speak to a lawyer, please." Or, if you want to be technical, say "I'm invoking my right to remain silent and my right to counsel." Say that, ONLY that, then STOP TALKING. Do not try to explain yourself. Do not give excuses or explanations. Do not tell your side of the story. SHUT UP.

Talking to the police without your own lawyer present can never, ever help you. The police are allowed to lie to you and trick you to get you to make self-incriminating statements. They can misrepresent what evidence they have. Or they will say, look, I'm sure this is all a misunderstanding, why don't you tell me your side of it - and then you'll say something they can use against you, and lose any chance of a defense. Do not fall for it. Do not talk to the police. Ask for a lawyer. Shut your pie-hole. Have I made myself clear?

Why do you need a lawyer? Only a lawyer can hold the police accountable for statements they may make to you about what evidence they have, or don't have. If you say one thing about a conversation, and a police officer says another, who do you think the court is going to believe? The police officer who's been on the force for ten years, or someone who's accused of being a criminal? People always believe officers above ordinary citizens (even though officers lie fairly commonly), if only because officers tend to be more coherent and articulate in their presentation. Only a lawyer can be sure of getting access to evidence the police hold that might help you. And only a lawyer can tell you what it's safe to say, and when you need to keep your gob shut (answer: most of the time; but it's impossible to give specifics without being there).

You have the right to be appointed a lawyer, at taxpayer expense, if you're charged with a crime. You can ask about this at the first court appearance, if you haven't gotten one yet, but you really want to be proactive and talk to a defense lawyer first thing.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:

Thomas Ifversen

Thomas Ifversen


It is Really important that you follow Mr. Bodzin's advice! It would certainly be alright to write down your recollections about these incidents, and ask anyone in your family to do the same. But share them with your lawyer ONLY. I don't think you have incriminated yourself here, but definitely do not talk about this case with anyone other than your attorney!


Being charged with a criminal defense can be very unsettling. It is not unusual for neighborhood disputes to result in criminal charges. In order for you to have a chance at your case being resolved in a successful manner, you should contact a criminal defense attorney and request a confidential consultation to discuss your matter. Do not post anything more about your case online. The police, your neighbors, the prosecutors and the judge can read what you post on a public Internet forum such as this, and use your statements to your disadvantage. Be smart. Get a lawyer.