Lawyers Explain Which Laws People Insist Are Real But Actually Aren't

Knowable

I Object!!!

Just because we incessantly watch reruns of Law & Order: SVU and Blue Bloods doesn't make us law enforcement officials. I no more want a public defender trained by Annalise Keating than I want a surgeon trained by Meredith Grey. For some reason we all think we're well versed enough in justice that we know better than the officials. But oh the amount we are wrong. We'll argue until we're blue in the face without ever cracking a law book..... or a neighborhood watch pamphlet. Hence the problem.

Redditor u/IfItQuackedLikeADuck wanted the lawyers of the web to inform us about all the things we DON'T know about the law by asking... Lawyers, What's a law that isn't real that normal people insist exists?

Goodwill Honor....

In the UK, people often claim that if an item is listed for sale in a shop then the shop legally has to sell it to you at that price. This is not true at all as the shop doesn't have to sell you anything at any price.

Often as a gesture of goodwill shops will honor erroneous prices, but they are under absolutely no obligation to do so. HereForTheTurnips_

implied endorsement....

Giphy

That commercial use of a photograph means selling the photograph.

Commercial use means that there is an implied endorsement. You can take and sell photos of Eric Clapton all day long. Put that same photo in an advertisement for a certain guitar without a release and you can be sued. xaclewtunu

"reading of the will" 

Probate attorney here. I've had many people ask me when the "reading of the will" is going to take place. I explain to them that only happens in movies. But one of these days I am going to have one, and hire a mysterious blonde wearing a veil to sit in the corner quietly.

Then I'll tell everyone that she inherits everything. Provided, of course, that she must adopt the decedent's cute but troublemaking six year old child no one knew about. Or she can spend the night in a haunted house. Her choice. SpaceFaceAce

Lie to Me. 

Re my father who is a lawyer: "Policeman cannot lie to you."

This is false. They can and they do.

Edit:

There's so many replies that I cannot even find some of the ones I'd like to respond to so I want to leave a general note for those who have asked for a reference:

Frazier vs Cupp is the Supreme Court ruling that "affirmed the legality of deceptive interrogation tactics" in 1969. The ruling is still active. LoveOfficialxx

On Camera. 

People that think it's illegal to be video taped in a public space. RmeMSG

I saw someone on next door complaining about "my reasonable right to privacy in a public place," when someone was shaming 20 people standing together waiting for take out. Sorry that's the opposite of how it works. khaominer

Citizens.

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"Sovereign citizen" stuff. I feel like enough folks have claimed to be sovereign citizens that it's become normal. But no, generally you can't declare yourself exempt from the laws in effect where you are. Alleline

Don't Sign....

Not quite on point:

A lot of people don't understand that co-signing a loan means that you are on the hook for the loan as much as the other person. The car gets repoed and then they are shocked that their wages are getting garnished.

Co-signing is not you saying you think your friend is a cool dude who is good for it; you are saying you will pay for it if they don't. And they want you on the hook because they think there is a good chance the main applicant is a deadbeat. Basically, don't cosign anything for anybody. notrexhudler

 'no pedestrians'

As a former lawyer (UK), I lost count of the amount of people that thought jaywalking was a crime.

Unless it's a road that specifically states 'no pedestrians' or a motorway, no such offense exists here.

Edit: to clarify I'm talking about it not being a crime in the UK, it may well be elsewhere (Australia, USA, Germany and others). brevity_is_hard

"fighting words"

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Fighting words is not a defense to battery. It just means that the government can prosecute face to face insults likely to lead to a breach of the peace.

ETA: Not to say that provocation defenses don't exist dependent on jurisdiction, but "fighting words" in the US refers to an exception to the 1st Amendment.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/315us568 hastur777

+10....

You can go 10 over the speed limit. My dad thought this was true as he was new to the country and quickly found out by a speeding ticket that it was not.

Edit: I'm now realizing that this is may vary from state to state and county to county. For my case, South Florida generally tolerates 10 over but is still technically illegal. loopywalker

Cop TV.

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An arrest isn't magically invalidated if the police don't read you your rights on the spot.

There could be a whole thread of just misconceptions people have from watching Cop TV. Auntie_Hero

Miranda rights protect you from self incrimination when being questioned by the police for a crime.

It doesn't mean they have to Miranda you the second you get arrested. If you aren't questioned then it doesn't apply.

People also think it's illegal not to let them make a phone call after being arrested. candaceelise

It's just surveying....

It's a law that exists but widely misunderstood is the concept of Entrapment. If the police put a Bait vehicle in a high crime area, that is NOT entrapment. If the police are watching a bar known to over-serve to see if there are impaired drivers at the end of the night that is NOT entrapment.

Entrapment only occurs when a Gov agent suggests committing a crime that you were not otherwise going to commit. Dinothegreen

'press charges'

In my country some people believe they can 'press charges' against someone.

You can't. You report a crime and the police decide if they are taking it further. It's not up to you whether charges are brought, you may want charges brought but the police drop the case.

Alternatively you can refuse to 'press charges' and the police can bring a case anyway. It's harder without the victim or witness cooperation but they still can.

You do have a right to civil cases of course but when people say 'press charges' they believe they can do this via the police. Reddit

Parked. 

In the UK, it's not illegal to park on someone else's drive(way). It's classified as trespassing, a civil offense, not criminal, which means the police can't do anything.

This particularly surprises people as many think that they have exclusive rights to the parking outside their house as well. TannedCroissant

Money Issues...

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It's actually not illegal anywhere in the United States to discuss wages or form/join a union, contrary to what many employers may claim. I also strongly recommend you do both to protect yourself and your colleagues from being taken advantage of. Ninjachibi117

Barefoot Life....

No laws against driving barefoot. LaserBeamsCattleProd

Mandatory addition: In the US. In Germany, while appropriate footwear is not directly required, you can be found at fault if your choice of footwear or lack thereof leads to your inability to avert an accident. TheReddective

16 & Up! 

In the UK that it is illegal to drink under the age of 18.

You can buy alcohol with a meal at 16 (beer, wine, cider) and you are not breaking any laws if you give your child some alcohol in the privacy of your own home and they are over the age of 5.

Edit: At 16 you have to be accompanied by an adult and it is paid for by the adult. Thanks u/kelusk Hamsternoir

"watch out for that bus!" 

Paralegal: A lot of people think that the law requires you to be a good, decent person.

If I'm sitting on a bench and see a blind person about to walk into the path of a bus, it's completely legal for me (in the United States) to remain silent, take my cell phone out, and take a video of his death. It's even legal for me to profit from the video. I'd be a monster for doing it, but there's no law imposing a duty on me to tell this stranger, "watch out for that bus!" NoBlueKoolAid

Obstructer. 

Negligent motorcycle driver forced me to hit him from behind with my car.

I was young and naive at the time, never been in an accident until then, guy makes me sign a paper that says that the accident is my fault because i hit from behind and wanted compensation.

I explained the situation to my dad, and he concluded that the guy was obstructing normal traffic and i had no option but to hit him from behind in the particular circumstance.

The guy ended up taking us to court, showed the judge the piece of paper that i signed, i explained that I signed it under duress and that he explained that "by law whoever hits from behind is responsible for the accident."

Judge looked him in the eye and asked him if thats true, he said yes, then she asked him to point out which law states that, he just shut the hell up. Reddit

Say Whatever....

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It's federal law in the US that a plain clothes or undercover police officer HAS to identify themselves as law enforcement if asked. No, it's not the law, and they can tell you whatever the heck they want. doctor-rumack

REDDIT

Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or ":zipper_mouth_face:" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.

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