5 Common Legal Myths That Just Won’t Die

The United States is often referred to as a, “Nation of laws,” and rightly so based on all of the federal, state, and local statutes that are on the books. Not even the best lawyer can know every law out there, so members of the general public who have never studied the law are likely to be even less knowledgeable about exactly what’s legal and what’s not in certain situations. However, there are things we all think we know are definitely how the law reads and in a lot of cases we are wrong. That doesn’t stop us from believing these legal myths that just won’t seem to go away.

You’re Covered (Or Not)

If you own a home, you most likely have homeowners insurance for when a tree falls on your roof or someone slips and falls on your front walk. Accident slips, trips, and falls are also covered.  However, if you chase the pizza delivery guy back to his car with a baseball bat because he didn’t arrive in 30 minutes or left and he falls on his face, you’re on your own.

Read Him His Rights

As a society, Americans watch a lot of TV. Crime drama being a popular genre, everyone probably knows the Miranda rights statement backwards and forwards. On a lot of shows, police officers are shown issuing a suspect’s rights on the scene and it’s implied that if this doesn’t happen, the individual can get off scott-free. This isn’t the case. A person must be given their rights before being questioned, not as they’re getting arrested, so don’t try using this loophole as the linchpin of your defense.

Say Whatever You Want

The First Amendment is not blanket protection to say anything that pops into your head and this goes for blogging and commenting online. You can still be found guilty of libel even if you insist what you say is your opinion if it impacts someone’s reputation. Be sure to think twice about what you speak or type.

Talk to Your Lawyer

Attorney-client privilege is another part of the law that is often referenced on a variety of TV dramas. As with a lot of other items, it is far from all-encompassing. There are many restrictions, exceptions, and situations where it doesn’t apply. Once again, be aware of what you’re saying and if you’re covered before you spill the beans.

Party At Your Own Risk

Even if you’re on your own (private) property, you can still be charged with public intoxication or even DUI. So being in your driveway as you wheelie your motorcycle after a six pack isn’t going to keep you out of jail.

In many instances, including legal ones, if it doesn’t seem like a good idea to say or do something, you should probably think twice about it and not worry about whether the law is going to protect you or not.


Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC


Newseum Institute