There can be laws and statutes in place that might seem they were from another time or that lawmakers created them with an entirely different intention in mind. For example, some states do not have sororities due to antiquated laws against brothels. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, other states might allow marriage between persons of the same gender but still have laws on their books that outlaw sexual relations between persons of the same gender.
Washington has a few especially weird laws on the books, including:
While there are, at times, state Supreme Court rulingsthat override these old school laws that somehow linger in the books, sometimes they remain, and in even rarer situations, law enforcement prosecutes them.
Using smartphones and texting while driving is a leading cause of accidents today, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Distracted driving laws that lawmakers have recently instituted might make mention of smartphones and texting, but according to the national standard of distracted driving, it includes any activity that takes attention away from the road, including simply talking to a passenger.
Some laws that legislators establish to target specific activities like using smartphones while driving might fail to specifically target other activities that take attention away from the road, like applying mascara or eating an especially stringy slice of cheese pizza.
When a law targets one activity but does not specifically mention others, the court and the parties involved in a case might translate the law to the facts and circumstances of the situation. While a distracted driving statute might not specifically ban driving while eating a slice of pizza in one hand, holding a cup of red sauce in the other, and steering with your knees while eating, if you cause an accident while doing this, a court may find you liable for the damages that result.
Attorneys are professionals at thinking reasonably about a situation and taking the time to determine what laws and precedents might apply to the unique facts and circumstances involved. Sometimes, you might suffer an injury in a situation for which there is no law. When injury results due to an incident that is not necessarily illegal or preventable, it is up to your attorney to determine a source of fault that they can use to justify you receiving compensation for your damages. This can at times require creativity, but above all, it requires experience.
When you get into an accident, connecting with an experienced local attorney as soon as possible helps to support the outcome of your case and your fullest possible recovery of damages.
Reasoning with the court or jury is a large part of what an attorney does, and doing so requires them to follow certain rules, policies, and procedures. Arguing on your own behalf against a weird or unreasonable law may seem easy, but without knowledge of the court procedure and steps surrounding expressing your opinion, the court may not be willing to hear it.
When there is a curious law or statute in place that might leave room open for interpretation, having an experienced attorney on your side to help apply the law and case precedent to your unique facts and circumstances will be especially beneficial for your case.
It is, of course, possible for you to research cases on your own to find similar facts and circumstances to your own, then to see how the result of the case worked out. Then you can consider the unique circumstances of your case and whether they might match up in such a way that prior decisions apply to them.
This is not always simple, and it can take quite a few hours to find even one case similar to yours, let alone enough to determine an average. Your attorney has likely worked on quite a few cases and has a network of peers to reach out to for any difficult questions or odd cases.
Case precedent is the norm or standard of previous cases with similar facts or circumstances. For example, it is illegal to litter in Washington. If the police pull you over for tossing an apple out of your car window toward a field of cows, they might charge you with littering.
You might argue that you were simply trying to feed the cows and that throwing a biodegradable, consumable item into the private property of the cow pasture was not at all littering but feeding the cows. No sign on the private property told you not to feed the cows, so there is no private cause of action. How do you know if you would win in court against the charge of littering? Either do your legal research or contact a local attorney to discuss your case and determine what your options might be.
If you face a charge based on a law that at best seems weird, or you think law enforcement applied the law uniquely or inaccurately, you can sue. Lining up representation from an experienced attorney with experience in the field of your case will provide you with the data you need to make an informed decision about your case.
The law can confuse anyone without legal training, and in others, it can seem flexible or unclear. When this is the situation with your case, an attorney with an understanding of the law and willingness to do the research can advise you on the best possible outcome in your unique situation.