My court experience

Andrew239

Junior Member
As a follow up to a post some time ago about neighbor issues, I had my day in court yesterday.
The thing from next door could not help herself and interrupted me a couple of times and had to be told by the judge to let me talk lol. One thing she did do was ask the judge for the maximum penalty to be handed out to me , which is 30 days in jail or $1000 fine I believe. She is such a lovely person.
At the end of it all it didn't matter , I was given a $500 fine, luckily he suspended $400 of it for 12 months. So effectively I got $100 fine plus court costs and. 12 months good behavior bond.
He also told me that next time in court the police would probably not waive the right to seek jail time.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Commiserations, that sounds unpleasant.

From what I can gather, the law is inappropriate in that it doesn't seem to provide protection against vexation claims. Is there no "reasonable person" test? This incident begs the question as to whether is it reasonable to take up a loud hobby at all? It seems the court's answer is subjective - if you have intolerant neighbours, then the answer is no.

Whatever, when you're stuck, you're stuck. Life's a bitch and then you die. Best move on. It's practice pad work for you, lad! You might as well go legit and make lemonade from the lemon. (Have I missed any cliches?)

The other week I ran into a neighbour and asked her if my drumming was a problem. I'm not a loud player but sometimes I play with doors and windows open through laziness. I was stoked when she said she enjoyed it. Sheer dumb luck on my part. And with luck, if you move house in the future, you'll have neighbours who like your style of music too ...
 

TWerner

Senior Member
I saw that you play in the garage.
Do you have the door closed?
If you do, some sound absorbing Rock Wool might be a good addition around your drum set. Would cost less than that fine.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I am NOT recommending this by any means, but I'll take this opportunity to share a story from my (wild) youth.

I had a neighbor in a townhouse we used to live in who complained about every noise. I understood that I couldn't be drumming all the time, but it got to the point where he came over once because he claimed our TV was too loud. We couldn't even make out the dialogue coming from the TV at the volume it was set at; how could it be too loud for the next-door neighbor? At that point, I realized he would never be reasonable.

So, the following day, I left a bullet in his mailbox. No note. Nothing else. Just a bullet.

Never did hear from him again and he moved out the following month. Might be a coincidence.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
I am NOT recommending this by any means, but I'll take this opportunity to share a story from my (wild) youth.

I had a neighbor in a townhouse we used to live in who complained about every noise. I understood that I couldn't be drumming all the time, but it got to the point where he came over once because he claimed our TV was too loud. We couldn't even make out the dialogue coming from the TV at the volume it was set at; how could it be too loud for the next-door neighbor? At that point, I realized he would never be reasonable.

So, the following day, I left a bullet in his mailbox. No note. Nothing else. Just a bullet.

Never did hear from him again and he moved out the following month. Might be a coincidence.
Nice one. If you did leave a note it should have said "Next one's coming a lot faster..."
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
It was big of them not to send you to jail, I guess. I think you should move to a town/state where being a musician is not a criminal offense.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I usually don't comment on these things because we hear only one side of the story and it's really unfair to make assumptions. I do know that if the courts want to target an individual, they'll find a way. I've been a witness in a few of these suits and if the evidence is overwhelming against you, then the courts have various ways of getting the problem resolved. Lucky for you it was your first time in court pertaining to such charges. Please, just don't be stupid with some of the advice or comments that you might hear because things might snowball.

Dennis
 

JSdrums

Member
I understood that I couldn't be drumming all the time, but it got to the point where he came over once because he claimed our TV was too loud. We couldn't even make out the dialogue coming from the TV at the volume it was set at; how could it be too loud for the next-door neighbor? At that point, I realized he would never be reasonable.
you're a drummer...the TV was probably waaaaay louder than you think! ;)
 

davelan

Member
I am NOT recommending this by any means, but I'll take this opportunity to share a story from my (wild) youth...
I certainly wouldn't recommend anything as extreme or threatening as this on my side of the Atlantic; litigation isn't so big over here but if anything like that were ever traced back to you you'd be seperated from your drums for a long time...

In the end, you have to be considerate and acknowledge that the the things you like to do can make other people's life an out and out misery (although I'm not discounting the existence of pettiness and overreaction on the part of some). I rehearse in a converted, detached garage with a reasonable amount of insulation but I'm also fortunate in that - as I work from home - I can also limit my practice to the daytime when there's much less chance of causing a nuisance.

I guess even I'd have to concede that my right to make a noise is trumped by my neighbours right to peace and quiet.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
What a horrid, horrid woman. Actually asking the judge to hit you with all he can.
She's no doubt pumped at the prospect of getting the kid locked up with one more complaint. You'd think the judge would take that as an indication that this is, hey, maybe a little personal, but no-- I guess he's in agreement that some crime has been committed. He had the option of just appealing to them to resolve the dispute like adults, but no, he had to impose a penalty and threaten jail time. It's screwed up.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I would like to start a harassment service to get at people like that lady who do terrible mean spirited things just because they can. There's plenty of legal actions that drive people up the wall. I'd just be very careful to always stay on the legal side of the fence.

Maybe some giant spotlights pointed at her house to start. You should also find the noisiest lawn mower you can and mow a section of your lawn that's closest to her twice per day.

Grrrr. People like that really upset me. Why can't she just figure out a way to work something out with her drummer neighbor? It's not that hard.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
She's no doubt pumped at the prospect of getting the kid locked up with one more complaint. You'd think the judge would take that as an indication that this is, hey, maybe a little personal, but no-- I guess he's in agreement that some crime has been committed. He had the option of just appealing to them to resolve the dispute like adults, but no, he had to impose a penalty and threaten jail time. It's screwed up.
Hey, we can't all have the dream of the 90's like you can. I hear it's alive in Portland.
 

larryz

Platinum Member
The whole thing seems ludicrous. That playing the drums loud can lead to a court appearance and a fine. 99.9999% of the time something like this can be resolved through communication and compromise between reasonable people.
 

Andrew239

Junior Member
indeed it is unfortunate, her 'compromise" was "i dont want to hear anything ever". What i thought her compromise would be ( and any normal person) "if you try and make it a little quieter, i can live with noise for X amount of time between these hours'

The bullet in the mailbox is intriguing, though will remain in my fantasy scenario. This "lady" is so bitter, dried up and pathetic she would insist i be charged with tampering with her mail as well as the bullet lol.

My main tool of annoyance from here on in will be a chainsaw. She mentioned in court that part of my 'arrogant, cocky and intimidating behaviour" was revving a chainsaw without even using it. Well, she best prepare herself, because i have a lot of wood to cut, even if now i cant play drums, my creative energy goes into making 1 inch thick chainsaw cut heat mats for dinner tables everywhere.
I have already started the lumberjack kit that someone posted a pic of here. That will be going at the end of my driveway so she sees it every time she comes home, as an added bonus, that too requires the use of a chainsaw.

It would have been so much easier if she was more reasonable from the start and we could have found a compromise, which i was more than willing to do.
 

TWerner

Senior Member
Her life is apparently a mess. Bummer it affected you.

Do you have someplace else to practice, or can you add Rock Wool and extra drywall to the garage?
 
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