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Littering and misdemeanor charges in Oregon

Many Oregon residents may go through life and never get charged with a crime. However, many people will face criminal charges at some point. While a few may be severe, most will be for simple mistakes that they never intended to happen.

In some cases, people may not even realize that they have committed a crime. Take littering, for example. Many people have littered from time to time. It's easy to toss something undesirable out of a car window. But fewer people likely realize that it's a misdemeanor crime to do so.

In fact, under section 164.805 of the Oregon criminal code, offensive littering is a class C misdemeanor. A person can be charged with offensive littering in a few situations: if they degrade the beauty of a property, create an objectionable stench or detract from the natural cleanliness and safety of a property.

These conditions must be created intentionally and as a result of the person's behavior in one of three situations. First, the conditions must be caused by throwing any debris, rubbish, trash or garbage from a vehicle that the person is driving. Second, the conditions can be caused by emptying waste from a recreational vehicle, septic tank, cesspool or other contaminated source onto public property or the property of another. Finally, the required conditions can be caused by throwing away trash, debris, garbage, refuse and the like on to the land of another without that landowner's permission.

When people make an innocent mistake that leads to criminal charges, they should understand their legal rights. People may have the opportunity to present their side of the story and get the charges reduced or dismissed. Even misdemeanor charges can be serious. By speaking with an attorney, people can get a clearer picture on what they are facing and their options for defending the charges.

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