Gutter Cleaning Caused Citing for Littering

I was wondering if anyone else has ever experienced this.

This past weekend I cleaned out my gutters. In one particular area of my gutters, I'm close to my neighbor's driveway (about 5 feet away). Well while blowing out my gutters, some of the debris (a small dusting according to the authorities) fell on my neighbors totalled car that he has parked in his driveway.

I did blow some leaves off of his driveway after I noticed some had landed on it, but I did not notice anything on this car, and I wouldn't assume to use a blower to blow anything off of a car.

Anyway, I was issued a citiation for littering. I am due in court to address this charge in about a month.

Has anyone else ever dealt with something like this and does anyone know of any resources I can be pointed to to help address my case?

Warmest regards,

That's rediculous and I'd fight it in court if I were you. Littering is discarding trash or rubbish. Leaves are part of nature and I don't see how they can be considered litter.

Does your neighbor have any trees? If so, then I would file a littering complaint on them as well since some of his leaves fell in your gutter and yard. Then I would file a suit against your city or county for allowing their leaves to fall in your yard and in the storm drain system.. Hmm, I wonder if that could also be a Clean Water Act violation??

The laws and suits are just getting completly out of hand. Now If you were throwing lawyers around then you should be locked up for littering. <G>

Thanks for you quick post. I think the peice that is the problem is that some of the roof composition created a dusting on the neighbor's junker. This is the littering part I guess. Yes, I am fighting it, but chances are slim as I already live in a backward town where this is allowed but the same neighbor running his deisel truck at all hours of the night allowing his exhaust to permeate my house is permissible <sigh>.

Funny immagry re: tossing lawyers <G>.
Hey Javahog,

Even if it was "dusting" from the roof this would also naturally happen with wind. Also, you were blowing off the gutters and roof. Not picking up trash and throwing it on the ground. If they follow this mentality then they should be fining people that use blowers to clean up parking lots. I doubt they are getting every tiny piece picked up so from this example they would be littering as well. Hell if you lived nearby I'd go to court with you and help you fight the damn thing. This is just stupid.
Yes, it is stupid...but that's what I'm dealing with. Logic is not a factor in this case...they're just responding to a complaint and issuing a citation as such...sad but true.

I appreciate the support though. I will be armed with legal definitions of littering and how it doesn't apply to this case...but we'll see. The town is hurting for money so they're willing to do these things in hope to generate revenue.
So I understand it that the neighbor called you in and wanted to file a complaint? They did not just happen by and see you committing the "crime".
Sounds like you and the neighbor have been at each other and this is his payback for something else.
If the car is a totalled clunker, then what is a bit more dust going to hurt, and why does he care enough to complain?
Cities can make any ordinances they want. I guess they can say that you violated the clean air act and cite accordingly.
Does your neighbor have any friends that work for the City? And if so, were they involved in this? Was it the Police or Code Enforcement?
Mr. Alan,

You are very perceptive about how far this goes back <g>. Yes, there is history...I do have a restraining order against my neighbor. He has a very old deisel truck that he owns and used to back into his driveway. Mind you, we live in a small town within the city limits and our houses sit on small lots. Consequently, the distance between our homes is twenty feet at the most, five feet on his property, five on mine. When he used to back his truck in, the exhaust of his truck would be aimed directly at our home, specifically our intake vents for the house. He would start up his truck, emitting visible emmisions (a huge cloud of smoke) but then leave it idling for up to 30 minutes.

Yes, my home ended up smelling like a garage and our CO detectors would go off. After complaining several times to the authorities, and due to a lack of ordinance against this type of abuse, I started the proceedings of getting a restraining order against him. In the meantime, his efforts escalated to the point where he ended hooking up a dryer vent hose to his exhaust and purposely aiming the emmisssions towards our house. It was not until then that the authorities issued a harrassment citation towards him.

My restraining order became permanent and yes, now he's looking for anything as revenge. Sadly, I gave him this opportunity by blowing out my gutters and having some of it land on his property. Though I blowed most of it away afterwards, remants remained, enough for him to request the issuance of a complaint.

No, he does not have friends in the police deparment. It was more of the police willing to shut him up over this and his demands that a complaint be issued.

The violation cited on the citation is "Littering" without any explaination. I am scheduled to go before the judge to enter a plea next month and will discuss the issue with the town attorney. The ironic part is that I am on the town's planning and zoning commission and I do have friends in the town's government. It will be interesting how this all plays out. Normally they do not play favorites and I'm not asking -- yet! <chuckle>
Small town, means that life sucks in Mayberry for you. Part of my plea with the judge would be to say that you cleaned up all that was visble and had he asked, you would have been more than willing to come over and get the rest.

When they call the issuing officer to testify, I hope he recalls that it was dust and not something else. Chances are if the officer wrote the ticket just to shut the neighbor up, that he will do you the favor of not showing up for court, which around here is an automatic dismissal.
Try This


Look up the city code and read it critically. After reading the code start to look up the term the code refers to as littering. It will and has to be defined -- does it fit the the situation? If their definition of littering does not fit to what has happened. Go to court early -- ask to speak to the prosecutor and tell him your position, bring the code to court with you and do not forget the definition of littering. He more than likely will then talk to the judge and dismiss the case. If your neighbor does not show up it will probably be thrown out anyway. He probably will not take a day off of work and lose a days wages to see you get a miniscule 50.00 fine. He is just trying to make you feel his pain for past events.

Hope this helps Let us know what happens.
Best Regards,
Super Clean Pressure Washing Service
How about his junk car dose it have a tag or ins on it???
in florida for a car to sit in the yard it has to have a good tag on it...ahhh
code inforcement might have to get a call
exaust emisions are unnatural, but leaves and dust are. The emisions going into your home are deadly, but dust and leaves (esp outside) are not in any way. From a health, and littering stand point, I don't think you have anything to worry about. If the judge judges by the "reasonable man" act I think your neighbor won't have a case. I would not be shy are hide the fact that you and your neighbor have a bad history. Chances are the judge will already know, and will see that this guy is pulling anything he can to get back. It's a personal thing, not a judicial thing. Good luck, we'll see....
hi guys, newbe here. readen this thread here and i thank every one is headed in the wrong dereachtion.
instead of sicken the law on him punchen him in the nose or asken your freinds to chose sides, use this hearing to barie the hatchet and give everyone a brake. be the bigger man as it were, tell your naber your sorry if you got overspray on his driveway and you will be over soon to clean it up. i mean its the naberly thing to do right. let the judge know your sinser and there probuly wount be a fine. remember your livelyhood depends on what people thank of you and in a small town even more reason to kiss and makeup.

life to short to be mad all the time. :)
rex raider
Sorry Rex ... But Bull ! This person has shown he is not going to be a good neighbor, if so he would have stopped running his truck knowing what it was doing next door. He's a B-hole [lm] and will not change just because someone apologizes " Can't we all get along?" no we can't some people are just [lm] [lm] [lm] !
I hope they laugh at this in court....Does your neighbor have a tree? If so tell the judge you were just giving his leaves back...I'm looking forward to the outcome. please keep us informed.
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Alas, it is finally over. Sorry didn't post an update sooner. The court date was rescheduled for the first week in December due to judge illness. And now for the results:

Basically, the Town attorney laughed at this and wondered why my neighbor just didn't sit back and enjoy the blow job...

He summarily dismissed it because he thought this was a bunch of bull. According to the police report, my neighbor reported the incident two days after the alledged littering. The prosecuting attorney (PA) thought that this was odd and had he reported it when it happened (in the police report my neighbor stated he watched me do it) he might have made a better point. Because of the two day delay, the PA felt confident enough to state that the dismissal was based on lack of proof as it could have been caused by a simple wind gust.

Anyway, the judge did not like that the PA dismissed it because he rarely dismisses anything. Second, because it was dismissed with prejudice, he couldn't read the report himself to clarify why the PA dismissed it. Suffice to say, there was no argument and simply because of a technicallity, it was dismissed. However, the PA personally told me on an aside that this was ludicrous and not the intent of the town ordinance.

As a side note, he told me that if my neighbor does anything (re: emmissions), to notify him so that he can issue a harrassment citation against him, even if the local police will not.

Regardless, I will be more careful to avoid this situation again. What a waste of time for all involved.
I thought you would win the case without any problems. I figured there would be more to it than this though but I still thought you would win.

Great job on standing up to stupid stuff like this instead of laying down and taking it.

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