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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    1

    Default Trespassing on a Railroad Track Charge

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Oregon.

    Tonight I was gathering some rocks from near the railroad tracks within the city limits.
    For some context: It was 9:30pm, and dark. I was scooping loose gravel from near the railroad tracks that are in between two streets. So from the 3 foot sidewalk to the other side of the street, there is a 15 foot lane of travel, a curb, a 3 foot easement, the RR tracks, another 3 foot easement, another curb, the other 15 foot lane of travel, then the other sidewalk. So the RR goes straight down the middle of this street.
    A police officer came down one side and shined his spotlight on me. He then proceeded down the block and pulled a u-turn at the next intersection, and pulled up right behind my car.
    I obviously knew he was going to ask me what I was doing, and tell me to leave.
    I stated I was gathering rocks to build a path. He said the RR company wouldn't like that and do dump out any rocks I already had gathered. So I emptied 2 buckets.
    He then asked for my first name, and if I was the registered owner of the vehicle, which I am.

    That was it. He didn't talk to me further. And I was free to go.
    An hour later, I received a voicemail from the officer, stating the RR company wanted to press charges for trespassing and that I am to pick up my citation at the Police station.

    Seeing as I was not citied on scene, nor was my ID checked, or last name taken, what legal precedence do they have to charge me?
    I do not know what specific ORS I allegedly violated, but I would assume ORS 164.255:

    164.255
    Criminal trespass in the first degree
    (1) A person commits the crime of criminal trespass in the first degree if the person:
    (a) Enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling;
    (b) Having been denied future entry to a building pursuant to a merchants notice of trespass, reenters the building during hours when the building is open to the public with the intent to commit theft therein;
    (c) Enters or remains unlawfully upon railroad yards, tracks, bridges or rights of way; or
    (d) Enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises that have been determined to be not fit for use under ORS 453.855 (Purpose) to 453.912 (Governmental immunity from liability).

    Should I even pick up the citation? If I do, I will plead not guilty, but what defense should I build? Any advice would be helpful!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,047

    Default Re: Railroad Trespassing in Oregon

    You need a lawyer. If they're really charging you with first degree trespass, that's pretty darned serious rather than just some traffic citation. I'd speak to an attorney before speaking or visiting the police station. It's possible that they don't have a positive ID (yet) and if you don't respond, it may wither. However, it's hard for us to see that at a distance.

    They don't have to cite you on the scene, check your ID, take your name or any such thing. All the officer needs to do is testify that he witnessed you commit the crime and he can testify to the fact that you made incriminating statements at the scene. Obviously, he knows who you were or he wouldn't know where to reach you.

    Trespass also appears to be the least of what they can charge you with. Stealing ballast (that's what that "gravel") is from the railroad right of way is pretty serious in addition to the trespass.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,286

    Default Re: Railroad Trespassing in Oregon

    Quote Quoting srcohiba1
    View Post
    He then asked for my first name, and if I was the registered owner of the vehicle, which I am.
    And you don't think that you were identified at the scene?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Trespassing on a Railroad Track Charge

    Quote Quoting srcohiba1
    View Post
    Tonight I was gathering some rocks from near the railroad tracks within the city limits.
    You realize that the railroad PAYS for those rocks, and the purpose they serve, right? Why would you think that it's ok for you to TAKE (aka steal) those rocks?


    I obviously knew he was going to ask me what I was doing, and tell me to leave.
    So you already had an idea that you shouldn't be there.


    I stated I was gathering rocks to build a path.
    Know where you gather rocks to build a path? Home Depot. Lowes. Similar. You don't STEAL them from the railroad, and potentially contribute to a safety issue. You had NO right to take those rocks.


    He then asked for my first name, and if I was the registered owner of the vehicle, which I am.
    That's all the info the officer needed to ID you.

    Seeing as I was not citied on scene, nor was my ID checked, or last name taken, what legal precedence do they have to charge me?
    You were caught in the act, and the victim, after speaking with law enforcement, wishes to pursue charges. There is no requirement that you be charged at that time. For misdemeanors, police usually have between 6 months and a year to charge you.


    I do not know what specific ORS I allegedly violated, but I would assume ORS 164.255:
    That's a fair assumption.


    Should I even pick up the citation?
    You could wait for it to be delivered/served.

    If I do, I will plead not guilty, but what defense should I build?
    What defense do you think you have? You were seen by law enforcement within the railroad's easement and taking the railroad's gravel.

    Ron is right; you need an attorney.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,419

    Default Re: Trespassing on a Railroad Track Charge

    If he knows the car was yours,then he got your information. I would contact a lawyer then,follow their advice. Plead not guilty and see if your lawyer can get a diversion program or maybe get the charge reduced to something non criminal.

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