James Barth went to jail for a zoning ordinance violation in the city of Orono in Hennepin County. Barth violated Orono’s ordinance on “exterior storage” and served five days in jail. A city inspection in May 2010 showed that Barth kept lumber, scrap metals, tires, rims, metal shelving, garbage bags, etc. on his lawn. A third inspections in August 2010 showed that more junk kept appearing on his lawn. He plead guilty to Orono a ordinance violation of Ordinance # 79-1577 (exterior storage in residential zones) in 2011. He was put on probation. He got rid of most of the items. But, he was inspected again on June 18, 2014. Barth appeared Pro Se in his case, which means he did not have a defense attorney on record.
The inspector went onto Barth’s property without permission and took photos which were later used in court. Judge Bernhardson ordered Barth to sit five days in the workhouse for violating the zoning ordinance. He was also ordered to clean up his property. Barth now has a misdemeanor on his record for simply having his property out on his own lawn. Barth stated that “he shouldn’t be going to jail for ladders and firewood…it’s just outrageous.”
Although cases like this are rare, misdemeanor charges can be filed for violating a city ordinance. If charged with violating a city ordinance, you will need to hire a skilled Minnesota Defense attorney to ensure you do get a Misdemeanor on your record. A misdemeanor conviction will stay on your record permanently. An attorney can look at how the inspectors got their information and photographs. A Minnesota Defense Attorney can argue the inspectors came onto the property illegally. Or that they obtained other evidence illegally. Do not plead guilty to a zoning violation charge. There are many differing options that an attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to avoid getting a misdemeanor conviction. Do not appear in court “pro se” (without an attorney). Contact Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys for a free consultation if you are facing charges for a zoning violation.