Lawyers Share The Best "Would It Be Illegal If" Questions They've Gotten
"Would It Be Illegal If..."
It seems the law was made to be purposefully complicated. What regular person would want to sit and read a massive tome centered around the intricacies of mid-18th century bird law? No one, that's who. This is why we have lawyers. And, if you're really lucky, you might have one as a friend that you can ask all kinds of questions. Reddit user, u/cssensing87, wanted to know about the most outrageous ones when they asked:
Lawyers of Reddit, what are some of the strangest "Would it be illegal if I..." questions you have been asked?
"Is It Illegal To Tie Up People Who I Don't Trust?"
A guy in my concealed carry class was asking a lot of crazy hypotheticals about when he could pull on someone and when he could shoot. One night he brought in a gym bag that had duct tape and zip ties (among other weird stuff) and was asking about the legality of effecting a citizen's arrest and the legality of putting the duct tape over the suspect's mouth after the suspect's hands were zip tied.
I really hope that dude is on a watch list somewhere.
"Is It Illegal To Just, Like, Ditch My Kids?
I used to exclusively practice family law. Someone asked me if she could "unadopt" her kids because she hated them and didn't want to pay child support for them anymore. More of the saddest thing than strangest thing.
Strangest thing was a guy asking me if he could sue Campbell's Soup because a little bit of the wrapper got in the soup when he was cooking it. Not just a random friend or something, this guy scheduled an appointment with my office, showed up for the appointment, and asked. He was ready to sue.
"Is It Illegal To Measure Out My Restraining Order?
Client is the subject of a Protective Order prohibiting him from being within 100 feet of the protected person. He tells me he has a laser rangefinder and makes sure he is complying by taking line of sight measurements of his distance from her. By bouncing the laser off her.
I had to tell him that is literally compliant but worse in the mind of the court than just not complying. Please either stop doing that or raise more money to deal with the sh-tstorm coming when she notices the laser dot on her.
"Is It Illegal For You To Launder My Money?"
A good friend is a lawyer. While we were on a guy's weekend abroad, he got a text, went quiet and texted something back. I asked if it was work related, and yes, it was a client who wanted his lawyer to pass on some information about where the client had hidden his stash. My friend responded simply "sorry, I think you understand that I can't do that".
The client stupidly thought that the lawyer's confidentiality was a back door to using him as a tool in the drug dealing business.
"Is It Illegal To Move Money Around?"
A stunning amount of clients don't understand that you can't lie in court.
"Well what if I just put the money in my mom's account and testify that I don't have any?"
"Well, that would be a violation of discovery rules, a violation of duty of candor to the tribunal, a violation of bad faith, and false statement/perjury. So you'd go to jail and I'd lose my bar license."
"Oh. Well, what if I put it in my DAD'S account?"
"Are You Sure It's Illegal To Leave My Kids?
No, you cannot leave the state with your children when you have an open social services case.
Yes, you will be arrested if you do so.
"Is It Illegal To...Eat...Sticks?"
I was eating lunch and this girl opened a can of soup, one of those fat ones with the chunky bits that rhymes with brogresso.
She pulls out a giant branch, turns to me and says, "Can I sue for this?"
I say sure. You would win too, as letting a large stick like that trough the machine is clearly negligent. I then asked her if she bit it and chipped a tooth or something.
Then your damages are the value of a can of soup. Are you still going to eat the soup?
You got no damages.
"Is It Illegal To Ask Why I Think Everyone Wants To Hit Me?"
Everyone wants to know the precise limits of "self defense," to the point of:
"Hi, stormylullabye, what do you do for a living?"
"I'm a lawyer."
"Oh. So if someone called me an ahole and I punched them, would it be self defense?"
...every. time. Probably the strangest questions relate to fan fiction, though.
"Is It Illegal To Just Not Tell Anyone?"
"Would it be illegal if I purposefully wrecked my car for the insurance money?" YES IT IS.
"Why though? It's my car! I should be able to do with it what I want as long as no one gets hurt." Uh, well, it's not illegal to destroy your own property, but car insurance doesn't cover intentional damage. If you lie to an insurance company to get a payment you're not entitled to, that's fraud. And that's definitely illegal.
... "Well how would they know?"
I gave up.
When you're a kid most adults will tell you one thing or another is "cool" and "fun." Odds are you're too young to form any kind of opinion on the matter one way or another. You're a kid, right? You don't know what you're eating for breakfast. However, when you get older and form that larger worldview, you realize that yeah, maybe that one time when you were a kid actually wasn't fun.
These are those stories.