Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

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Latest post 09-13-2013 11:34 AM by Drew. 30 replies.
  • 09-11-2013 11:57 AM

    • MJeffH
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    Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    I have a private easement through a neighbors' property. They're up here just a few months a year but I walk my easement daily year-round and have for many years prior to them purchasing the property. My private easement shows up clearly in the subdivision plat map and their and my legal descriptions so the easement is not at all in question.

    Several times they have harassed me as I walk through. I don't even look in the direction of their house, totally ignoring them when I go through.

    Well, yesterday one of the couple told me twice to "get the [H... interesting that this editor won't allow the word which is the opposite of "heaven" in a post, changing it to "***heck"] out of here" when my dog stopped on our easement to do some sniffing. Then a while later when we came back through the easement on our return, the other of the couple physically blocked me from walking on my easement trail, telling me I had to move to another portion of the easement. She wouldn't move for several minutes, claiming it's THEIR property, to which I calmly kept replying, "It's MY easement and I may walk here." I finally got by her, though she threatened me then as well with something like, "don't you dare touch me!" which I didn't as I passed through the tight area.

    The police who took the report recommends I file a retraining order against them, or if I don't want to do that, he can charge them with disorderly conduct. My concern, however, is it will all be "he said/she said" in front of the judge (though since the events yesterday, I'm keeping my video recorder handy when I walk through there), so either legal action might be a waste of time (and money on my part?)

    I'd like to know a little more about both ROs and disorderly conduct charges, including likely costs I might incur to file and/or pursue the RO (I will call the police dept. about this later but I'd like to hear from others as well, in different parts of the country), and the process involved (especially since these people may be out-of-state by the time any court appearances would be required.

    My inclination at this point is to just keep filing police reports--I have four on file from this year and last year--to use if/when their blocking gets more threatening or more frequent, but I'd like to hear thoughts and knowledge from others.

  • 09-11-2013 12:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    MJeffH:
    I'd like to know a little more about both ROs and disorderly conduct charges, including likely costs I might incur to file and/or pursue the RO (I will call the police dept. about this later but I'd like to hear from others as well, in different parts of the country)

    Getting opinions on what the costs are around the country won't help you.  The fees in your court are all that matter and that can be answered by a quick call to the courthouse or checking their online site.

    It would cost you nothing to file a disorderly conduct complaint.  The state decides whether to pursue it as a criminal charge not the individual making the complaint.

    MJeffH:
    the process involved (especially since these people may be out-of-state by the time any court appearances would be required.

    That is their problem not yours.  They have a residence in the jurisdiction and if you have enough evidence to warrant a hearing on getting a RO then they will be served and if they are back in their other state when the hearing happens they can either return to the court, make arrangements for a phone appearance, or just not show and allow only you to present your case.  

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 09-11-2013 12:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    It sounds as though these people may not understand the easement.  Seems to me the first thing to try is to hire a local real estate lawyer to write them a letter explaining the easement (good idea to include a copy of the plat map showing where it is) and informing them of the consequences of their continued interference.

    Yes, it will cost some money (probably not too much - you don't need an expensive top-drawer lawyer for this).  But it should get their attention by showing them that (1) an expert is telling them they're wrong and (2) you are serious about this so they better be more careful.

     

  • 09-11-2013 12:26 PM In reply to

    • MJeffH
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    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    No, they fully understand the easement. They are just bullies (and the one who blocked me last night with drink in hand may have been drunk or at least tipsy). No reason to waste money on a letter explaining the easement. They know full well where my private easement is, the width of it, where the center of it is; and where the subdivision easement that joins it is as well.

    The blocker yesterday even told the police officer on the phone (the officer then told me) he/she did in fact block me on my easement. The officer told me he had to be careful when told that as he hadn't read the person his/her rights therefore couldn't hear a confession!

    I would expect with the multiple police reports I've had filed against them (with officers either meeting with them or talking with them by phone each time) they'd know by now I am serious. The next step clearly is just filing the RO or getting them cited, as I noted in my original email, which the officer is apparently more than willing to do.

    karen2222:

    It sounds as though these people may not understand the easement.  Seems to me the first thing to try is to hire a local real estate lawyer to write them a letter explaining the easement (good idea to include a copy of the plat map showing where it is) and informing them of the consequences of their continued interference.

    Yes, it will cost some money (probably not too much - you don't need an expensive top-drawer lawyer for this).  But it should get their attention by showing them that (1) an expert is telling them they're wrong and (2) you are serious about this so they better be more careful.

     

     

     

     

  • 09-11-2013 12:29 PM In reply to

    • MJeffH
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    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    With it being "he said, she said" at this point I can't imagine the state pursuing it as a criminal charge, or do you feel otherwise?

    I really wonder if filing the RO is worth the cost to me (assuming I will have to pay some court costs if I file this, as will the neighbors of course), with it being "he said, she said" (though with multiple police reports against them on file, at least.

    ClydesMom:

    ...

    It would cost you nothing to file a disorderly conduct complaint.  The state decides whether to pursue it as a criminal charge not the individual making the complaint.

    ...

     

  • 09-11-2013 12:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    MJeffH:
    The blocker yesterday even told the police officer on the phone (the officer then told me) he/she did in fact block me on my easement. The officer told me he had to be careful when told that as he hadn't read the person his/her rights therefore couldn't hear a confession!

    While I applaud the officer's caution and discretion he is actually wrong about this one.  Miranda applies to when the person is IN custody and the state intends to use the statement at trial.  A conversation on the phone between the officer and the neighbor might actually be admissable since it was voluntary and the neighbor was free to hang up and end the discussion at any time.

    What you have is a red neck drunk with nothing better to do but make trouble.  I would go ahead and get the RO so that if he keeps it up he puts himself in jail for violating it.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 09-11-2013 1:15 PM In reply to

    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    ClydesMom says it would cost you nothing to file a disorderly conduct complaint.  That's true, in the sense that there is no fee.

    But I think it's never a good idea to fan the flames of conflict with people who are going to continue to be part of your life, including your neighbors.  You won't know the true cost of filing a criminal complaint against them until at least the day they stop being your neighbors.  A criminal record is a very big burden to carry through life, and if they see you as the cause, there is no telling what they will try to do to you in revenge.

  • 09-11-2013 1:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    karen2222:

    ClydesMom says it would cost you nothing to file a disorderly conduct complaint.  That's true, in the sense that there is no fee.

    But I think it's never a good idea to fan the flames of conflict with people who are going to continue to be part of your life, including your neighbors.

    I didn't say he SHOULD file a disorderly conduct complaint.  I merely answered the question he asked which is what is the cost involved with doing so.  Making a criminal complaint against someone is free.  

    I personally believe that if you allows a drunk bully to continue to harass you they will keep moving the "line" of what is acceptable until they go too far one day.  At some point someone and preferably law enforcement has to show them that there are laws we abide by in society and that includes THEM.

    Whether it is a good idea or not is not for you, me or anyone else to say since we are not going through what the OP is.  Only THEY can decide if it is the right course of action.  It doesn't matter that you don't think it is a good idea or productive or that I do.  

    karen2222:
    A criminal record is a very big burden to carry through life

    I am willing to bet good money that this neighbor already has a criminal record of some sort since a lot of this seems to be tied to alcohol.  Carrying a criminal record is something that each individual has to take responsibility for.  This neighbor is CHOOSING their actions.  Reporting it doesn't lessen their responsibility for their own conduct.

     

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 09-11-2013 1:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    MJeffH:
    No, they fully understand the easement. They are just bullies (and the one who blocked me last night with drink in hand may have been drunk or at least tipsy). No reason to waste money on a letter explaining the easement. They know full well where my private easement is, the width of it, where the center of it is; and where the subdivision easement that joins it is as well.

    Oboy.  So they feel no responsibility to obey the law, nor are they afraid of being in trouble with the law?  Maybe they already have criminal records.

    Good luck.  My guess is no matter what you do, you will have no peace (except seasonally) until either you or they move away.

     

  • 09-11-2013 1:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    ClydesMom:

    karen2222:
    A criminal record is a very big burden to carry through life

    I am willing to bet good money that this neighbor already has a criminal record of some sort since a lot of this seems to be tied to alcohol.  Carrying a criminal record is something that each individual has to take responsibility for.  This neighbor is CHOOSING their actions.  Reporting it doesn't lessen their responsibility for their own conduct.

    I absolutely agree with all that.  But I very much doubt they have the maturity to see it that way :-)

  • 09-11-2013 2:37 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    Laymens guess:

    The courts might be less than amused if it appears you are seeking a RO over a few harsh words and its quite possible the couple shows up looking and behaving like model citizens .

    Your post suggest nasty words but no direct threats of harm and you civil damages of having blocking one side a easement and walking on other side are probably zippo .

    MT is an all part consent state as to recording conversations --so be a bit careful if you seek to record future confrontations. If you can--walk with a companion who can appear in court if necessary

    Me, I think you are sort of stuck to tune it out for now --and await a more serious confrontation if any which rises to a clear actionable level along lines of threats of harm or actual contact = assault or battery

    If you are a male dont take a swing at a female even if she swung first--it won't play well in court.

    No clue if MT has a stand your ground law but thats one Id not invite to address even if they do have one.



  • 09-11-2013 2:48 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    MJeffH:
    I have a private easement through a neighbors' property.

    You have an easement, but this neighbor (the troublesome one) owns the actual land?  Correct?  Do you have to open a gate or fence or something to use this easement?  Is the area wooded, open pasture, lawn, how close is it to their house, how close to your house, how wide is the easement?  I'm asking because I'm having a bit of a problem visualizing why you have an easement across someone else's property?  Usually there is some reason why an easement was granted.  Do you know why the easement exists?

    MJeffH:
    Several times they have harassed me as I walk through

    What time of the day or night are you taking your strolls?  Just curious if perhaps this is influencing their reaction. 

    MJeffH:
    I finally got by her, though she threatened me

    Did she make a physical threat against you or threaten you with bodily harm in any way?

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 09-11-2013 3:07 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    I disagree that that is relevant --if I have a deeded easement over your lands I am free to use it 24/7 without any reason for any lawful purpose unless the esaement says otherwise.  And a gate may not be permissible if it restricts you use. Dont confuse being nice with basic rights.



  • 09-11-2013 3:18 PM In reply to

    • MJeffH
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    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    Very useful information about Miranda. Sounds like maybe the officer was just trying to stay uninvolved.

    ClydesMom:

    MJeffH:
    The blocker yesterday even told the police officer on the phone (the officer then told me) he/she did in fact block me on my easement. The officer told me he had to be careful when told that as he hadn't read the person his/her rights therefore couldn't hear a confession!

    While I applaud the officer's caution and discretion he is actually wrong about this one.  Miranda applies to when the person is IN custody and the state intends to use the statement at trial.  A conversation on the phone between the officer and the neighbor might actually be admissable since it was voluntary and the neighbor was free to hang up and end the discussion at any time.

    What you have is a red neck drunk with nothing better to do but make trouble.  I would go ahead and get the RO so that if he keeps it up he puts himself in jail for violating it.

     

  • 09-11-2013 3:23 PM In reply to

    • MJeffH
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    Re: Restraining order, disorderly conduct against neighbor?

    No, I don't agree with your conclusion.After I file a complaint about them, they are quiet for quite a while. My guess is this was sort of a "last hurrah" (last harassment) by them before they head back south where they belong. I do believe if I get a RO against them it will keep them away from me as once they realize they could get jailed for violating that (as I understand it), I think they'd back off completely. Unless of course it is just alcohol talking. I've never seen them staggering drunk nor smelled liquor (including last night--the only time I was close enough to possibly have smelled anything, as I normally steer very clear of them), but who knows... I do know they drink, and do know that was a glass of wine in hand last night. But whether it was alcohol talking or just their stupidity, I don't know.

     

    karen2222:

    MJeffH:
    No, they fully understand the easement. They are just bullies (and the one who blocked me last night with drink in hand may have been drunk or at least tipsy). No reason to waste money on a letter explaining the easement. They know full well where my private easement is, the width of it, where the center of it is; and where the subdivision easement that joins it is as well.

    Oboy.  So they feel no responsibility to obey the law, nor are they afraid of being in trouble with the law?  Maybe they already have criminal records.

    Good luck.  My guess is no matter what you do, you will have no peace (except seasonally) until either you or they move away.

     

     

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