Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ignorance of the Law is NOT a Legal Defense

"Where Ignorance is Bliss,
'tis folly to be wise."
                                           From a Poem by Thomas Grey


I get phone calls, emails, and texts daily asking the same question over and over, what if I didn't know that was the law? In my state it's ok to.  I didn't know that in New York State:

1. It's illegal to use my portable GPS, iPod, etc. while driving, I thought it was just phone calls?
2. It's illegal to not change lanes when I saw an emergency vehicle or police car pulled to the right?
3. It's illegal to use my medical marijuana (for which I have a card in NJ/CA) in New York State?

Upon the entry points to many states there are signs posted concerning their move over laws and their phone/electronic device law, but are they always apparent and easy to see?

Ignorance of the Law is Not an Excuse or a Valid Legal Defense

We are held to all the rules and laws of whatever jurisdiction (state/country/province) we find ourselves in or visiting. Here's another recent example:

One of my neighbors placed a package by the building mail boxes:

Does he have to be told by the Postal Service
You can't do this!

The US postal rule as posted on a local mailbox,
does his box weigh over 13 ounces, you betcha!

Rules and Laws of Wherever You Are are Important to KNOW

My neighbor won't be arrested for this but his package ain't going to move very far. Does he have to learn the postal rules and laws? How many of our rules are common sense and how many are open for interpretation? 

In GA and Ohio you can't ride a bicycle high or impaired or intoxicated? You can in NYS. In PA you can't ride a horse or horse drawn carriage high or impaired or intoxicated? You can in NYS. 

Who knows any of this stuff? In Colorado many now know that marijuana is legal both recreationally and medically. But although smoking and possession are legal you Can NOT legally smoke in public areas.

Always remember to consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.


newman.lawrence@gmail.com
607-229-5184

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Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers