If you’ve ever attempted to navigate the legal system, you will find yourself either lost or thoroughly confused. It’s almost as if life is a game and only the lawyers know the rules. Some laws make perfect sense while others seem arbitrary, illogical, and sometimes just downright weird. Some laws are so weird, and weirdly specific, that contemplating the situation that occurred for the laws to be enacted is hilariously comedic. For example, it is illegal in Waco, Texas, to throw a banana peel onto the street because a horse could slip on it. It’s also illegal for a man to kiss a sleeping woman in Logan County, Colorado. While this is definitive proof that sleeping beauty was not a Colorado native, it does beg the question, how do these crazy, weird laws come to be?
Laws are often made in response to ongoing problems society faces. Oftentimes, lawmakers write laws hastily to acquiesce to public outcry. This can make laws be oddly specific, or at times poorly written. But the intent behind most laws is to right wrongs and ensure the continued benefit of society. Here are 8 weird legal facts that you probably didn’t know:
1. Your Lawyer Can’t Just Drop You As A Client
If you’ve hired a lawyer to represent you in a litigation matter, you’re probably learning all about the law and the legal system through hands-on experience. While it’s not the situation one would like to be in, it is very informative. Litigation matters will have their ups and downs, regardless of your case. During depositions unbeknownst details will come to light, documents will almost magically appear during discovery, and opposing counsel will manipulate facts in ways that will make your blood boil. In some scenarios, attorneys may choose to no longer represent their clients. This could be due to a variety of reasons. But rest assured, professional conduct will stop attorneys from dropping clients if it hurts them; if it’s close to trial and there is no suitable replacement, for example. Judges will enforce this.
2. Your Employer Is Liable If You’re Injured Driving To And From Work
We all think about workplace injuries taking place at, well, work, right? But is it a work-related injury if you’re driving to or from work and have a car accident? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. The legal wizards at www.truittlawoffices.com explain that employers can be held liable for accidents their employees have whilst driving to and from work. This means if you’re ever in a car accident while driving to a work-related matter, or collide with someone driving to a work-related matter, the company’s employers compensation insurance can cover the accident.
3. Your Children Are Criminals
Obviously not all your children are criminals. Only those in Tennessee, playing games on a Sunday without a license. Due to some archaic law from God-knows-when, children in Tennessee need a license to play on Sundays. How do they get the license? Not sure. But I would love to see the state worker’s face when someone does go and apply for one.
4. There Are More Than 12 Jurors
Any movie or TV show set in a courtroom shows 12 jurors for a trial. But, in reality, there are often more than 12 jurors selected for a trial. The reason is to ensure that any circumstance that eliminates a juror mid-trial does not impede its progress, and one of the standby jurors can take their place.
5. You Will Never See Your Day In Court
Most civil lawsuits settle out of court. Odds are, if you’re suing or being sued for a civil matter, you will reach an out of court settlement. 97% of civil suits are either settled or dropped. Lawyers that don’t handle criminal matters may spend as little as 20 days of their year appearing in court — explains why they like their corner office so much.
6. Ignorance Doesn’t Excuse You From The Law
So, apparently, no matter how much you plead to the judge that you simply didn’t know you were breaking the law, you can be punished for breaking it. Proving ignorance of a law is nearly impossible because you can’t prove a negative — try to prove to me now that you don’t own a horse — you’re still liable for any laws you break unknowingly. It’s reasonable till you stumble on some weird archaic law like it being illegal to ride an ugly horse in Wilbur, Washington. That’s not even a joke; it’s a real law in place. The real question is, who decides if a horse is ugly?
7. TV Shows Are Way Too Fast
Ever watch a procedural law show? Of course, you have, that’s all that’s on TV. OK, there’s plenty of other stuff to watch, but you’re bound to have seen one involving a legal matter at some point. More often than not, they finish a lawsuit in 60 minutes, including commercial breaks. Maybe if the writers have some steam in them they will run into a two-part episode. The fact of the matter is, it takes years to resolve a legal dispute. The legal system can be clogged up and lawyers need an abundance of time to gather information from a client, file a complaint, enter discovery, hold depositions, hire experts for testimony, prepare for trial, and have the hearings. If you find yourself using or being sued, be ready for a long ride.
This may not be the weirdest fact, but it is the coolest. Under federal law, buying a flamethrower is legal. Do we really need to say much else?
While weird, nonsensical laws can make your blood boil, some laws aren’t frustrating because of the incompetence of lawmakers. Some laws are rigid to protect a certain class of people and, in protecting them, the law can make the lives of other people around them miserable. Lawyers can also manipulate the language of laws to their advantage. Hopefully, understanding that can give you the patience you need to survive your run-ins with the law.