Q: Can I defend myself against an illegal yard waste charge when there is an accuser whom did not actually see the incident and win? A gentleman driving towards me saw me folding a tarp with a friend, followed me later &contacted city that I was dumping. We were on the road to show friend where to ride 4 wheelers on old train tracks below & saw my tarp in the truck was loose. I received a letter stating I was fined $1000 for dumping with two pictures of yard waste. I went back to the road and couldn’t find the alleged dumping area but found 10 other areas of yard & construction waste dumped. We were told we could defend ourselves at district ct but would not be provided written accusations by city and could face higher fine of $5000 if lost and pay all court costs win or lose. The city states the man has no reason to lie and we have monetary reason to. All he saw was us folding a tarp. Do we have a chance of beating this?

A: Based solely on the way you describe it here, yes, it sounds like you may have a defense. You are being prosecuted on circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is not direct evidence like actual videotape or a witness actually seeing you committing a crime. In your case, you are seen with a truck and tarp, near where toxic waste has been discarded. You can be convicted on circumstantial evidence but frankly will have a better chance with a lawyer. If you a defense or you are truly not guilty, you should have your entire situation with an attorney-the police reports, your story, any corroborating evidence. Then, based on the advice of the attorney, you can make a legal determine if you want to fight the case.

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