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Should I fight my charges and hire a public defender??

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#1
What is the name of your state? Oregon

I was charged with interfering with a peace officer after 3 squad cars stopped me while walking down the sidewalk for an unrelated incident involving someone running across the road. I asked what this was about and if I was being detained and told him that I would gladly sit down if he told me if I was being detained or at least the reason for the stop, when the officer told me to sit on the sidewalk and he told me that he "told me to sit on the f***ing sidewalk" I told him that I was just trying to ask a question and he said that I was resisting arrest and threw me on the ground, then proceeded to say I was resisting arrest and that I tried to assault him.

There were about 5 officers or so there and I was then searched and thrown in the police cruiser. I didn't expect that they would take me to jail, but an officer got in the car and started driving. When I asked the officer where he was taking me and what I was being charged with, he remained silent. I then asked again and he still said nothing. I asked if he could hear me and he told me that I needed to be quiet.

I had been drinking, but not excessively and was taken to jail for, what seemed to me, as unjust.

While I should have just sat on the sidewalk, I don't feel that I was threatening in any way, nor did I try to impede their duties by asking a simple question.

Even though they were trying to say I committed all of these crimes (interfering with a peace officer, Assault, and Resisting arrest), I was only charged with interfering with a peace officer (a class-A misdemeanor)

I feel like they know they handled the situation with excessive force and I looked up the laws here: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/162.247 in the annotations section and it says that "Speech alone does not constitute acting in a manner that prevents or attempts to prevent peace officer from performing duty. State v. Lam, 176 Or App 149, 29 P3d 1206 (2001)"

It also mentions that disobeying a lawful order by an officer IS considered interference, but seems that a "lawful order" is classified as a vague term.

I know that typically the court/police will win the case because they've heard the same excuses a billion times, but I do not feel like asking a question and then being tossed on the ground is justified in the situation when I was not hostile or in any way disrespectful towards the officers.

I don't have money for a lawyer, so I'd be hiring a public defender. Would it even be worth the money?

Any advice would be appreciated. I just don't want to make the judge frustrated by fighting it, then end up in a worse situation than I'm already in.

Thank you for any help.
 


#3
Here's a novel idea.

Next time a police officer says do something, say "Yes sir" and do it. If he's getting it wrong, the time to argue it is in court, not on the side of the road.

I had been drinking, but not excessively
That's what you say but it obviously clouded your judgment or you wouldn't be in this mess.

You're not the first one who failed at being a curb-side lawyer ("Am I being detained") and you won't be the last.
 

TigerD

Senior Member
#4
Another victim of bad youtube advice.

You need a lawyer.

Talk to your lawyer about how to handle an encounter with police.

TD
 

HighwayMan

Super Secret Senior Member
#8
While true, Sean apparently was not charged with any alcohol offense.
Not sure what you're getting at Q.

OP thought he was behaving fine, but he admitted to drinking but not "excessively". Good chance he was intoxicated and severely misjudged his own behavior.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#9
Not sure what you're getting at Q.

OP thought he was behaving fine, but he admitted to drinking but not "excessively". Good chance he was intoxicated and severely misjudged his own behavior.
He was not cited for any alcohol offense so saying he was intoxicated is an unsupported assumption. In other words, drinking does not equal intoxication.

That was the only point I was making. :)
 
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HighwayMan

Super Secret Senior Member
#10
I'd say that considering the charges they booked him on, any intoxication charge would be easily ignored.

My experience has been that when someone admits to drinking and says it wasn't much it was a lot more than they admit to or remember.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#11
I'd say that considering the charges they booked him on, any intoxication charge would be easily ignored.

My experience has been that when someone admits to drinking and says it wasn't much it was a lot more than they admit to or remember.
I don't doubt that. And it could very well be true that Sean was intoxicated.

It is just not supported here by, apparently, any breath or blood tests or any alcohol charge.

That can be an important fact for his defense attorney.
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
#12
It is likely that if alcohol inebriation was an issue, the officer would have articulated it in any report. But, since consensual inebriation/impairment is not a defense to a crime, its articulation or not may do little for the defense. Though, I know that out here some agencies will not document inebriation so as to limit the possibility the DA will offer a plea to public intoxication.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#13
It is likely that if alcohol inebriation was an issue, the officer would have articulated it in any report. But, since consensual inebriation/impairment is not a defense to a crime, its articulation or not may do little for the defense. Though, I know that out here some agencies will not document inebriation so as to limit the possibility the DA will offer a plea to public intoxication.
I agree that citing only for interfering with an officer could limit what the prosecutor can/will offer.

Because Sean has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor, it is worth it for him to have an attorney. I think it would be a mistake for him to represent himself.

If Sean does not have an attorney for his first court appearance, it would be smart for him to plead not guilty and to ask for a public defender (if he cannot afford an attorney).
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
#14
Oh, he definitely should have an attorney. Even if he loses and his state requires some small payment towards the cost of that attorney as part of restitution or penalties, it's still better than NOT having an attorney where he could get raked over hot coals.
 
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