Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but there are crimes that are so obscure that many do not realize they are on the wrong side of the law. Since the 1950’s, the number of criminally enforceable state and federal rules and regulations have exploded resulting in “laws so voluminous that they cannot be read…so incoherent that they cannot be understood” putting everyone at risk for being charged with a crime. Those who are convicted face jail time, fines and a criminal record that can “stick with them their whole life”.
Over Criminalization in America
Many do not know that walking a dog on a leash of more than 6 feet on federal property is a jailable offense or that pinball is prohibited for those under 18 in at least one state. Transporting a rake across state lines between Jersey and New York is not allowed nor is taking animals in during a storm in North Carolina, a misdemeanor offense. Many recall the story of a 10-year-old Michigan boy who struck a classmate in the face with a dodgeball – although charges for aggravated assault were dropped, they were nonetheless sustainable under the law. The list goes on and on, and all too often, a lack of criminal intent or unknowing that an activity breaks the law does not prevent criminal prosecution.
Establishing Probable Cause
While many of these obscure offenses are handled with a warning or a slap on the wrist, they invite interaction with law enforcement that could lead to problems. When stopped or interviewed for unknowingly committing an illegal activity, any other observable offense such as alcohol on the breath, drug paraphernalia in the console of your car, or unregistered weapons on display can give police probable cause to search. Furthermore, if you are arrested for an offense, a subsequent search of your person may result in additional charges if something illegal is found.
Aggressive, Effective Defense Against Criminal Charges
If you are under investigation, or have been arrested and charged with a crime, it is important to secure the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you against the charges you face. Oftentimes, effective counsel results in a dismissal of charges or a reduction in the charges you face – an experienced attorney can make the difference. Contact the Waukesha criminal defense lawyers of Andrew C. Ladd LLC for immediate assistance if you have been charged with weapons or drug violations, theft, violent crimes such as assault, sex offenses, Wisconsin OWI, juvenile offenses or other criminal offenses.
Source: The Manhattan Institute, “More Laws, Less Freedom”, accessed May 21, 2020