What's the worst legal advice you've ever heard?

Sister thread to this thread on medical advice and inspired by this thread which has some…interesting takes on legal matters. What are the worst pieces of advice you’ve heard given earnestly, in matters of criminal or civil law?

Along with IANAD comes IANAL, I most certainly am not a lawyer but the worst advice I’ve ever heard was related by a friend who was told by some legal scholar that if you receive a witness summons and can’t be bothered with it, you can ignore it as ‘if you don’t turn up the case will be dismissed due to lack of evidence’*. Turns out it doesn’t quite work that way! Fortunately he has two brain cells to rub together and didn’t follow it.

*Please note that this poster takes no responsibility if you follow this, nor any other, terrible advice in this thread. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments. See a doctor if the swelling does not reduce in 3 days.

Your link is to a post on traffic light colors.

In fairness, the idea to combine the red and green lights was terrible advice.

Oops, missed a 6 off the end of the link.

Pretty much any FOTL nonsense.

The “poor man’s copyright” (i.e., send your work to yourself via certified or registered mail, then put it away unopened). This idea refuses to die, despite a notable absence of any cases of someone successfully defending a copyright that way.

Some people think if you “find someone in your house” you can do what you want to them.

Not so.

Later articles imply there may be more to the story.

This isn’t “advice” exactly, but I think there are some people who have this notion that staying silent (Miranda) is for guilty people, and that “if you’re innocent you have nothing to fear, so by all means talk your head off while in police custody.” Only guilty people would refuse to talk!

“You don’t need a lawyer for that”

Worst advice ---- ever and always.

Not sure if this counts but when some serious shit went down a friend confidently proclaimed “They can’t arrest us all”

It’s only illegal if you get caught.

There is a lot more to the story. The intruder was in a house owned by the shooter, who lived in an adjacent house. This guy, after “having words” with the intruder, went back to the house he lived in, and returned with a gun. He used this gun to shoot thru the shower curtain, and kill the intruder, and only then called 911. Now he is trying to use self defense.

The Prosecuting Attorney on the case charged him yesterday with 1st degree murder.

I’m a firm believer in the “castle doctrine” of home defense, but I really hope they nail this idiot good and proper.

“You need a lawyer for that”

Worst advice ---- ever and always.

Haha! I say that when crossing the street after a baseball game and there are about 100 people crossing at the same time. If traffic stopped, but the walk signal hasn’t come on yet, I say either “they can’t hit us all” or “they can’t arrest us all” depending on whether my concerned friends are worried about getting hit or getting a jaywalking charge.

I regularly see people on Facebook say “Oh, that’s just a [speeding/possession/DUI/loose dog/indecent exposure/public drunkenness/etc] ticket. You don’t need a lawyer for that”. I guarantee you, the prosecution has a lawyer. No matter what you’re charged with, don’t go to court without representation. Don’t go to divorce court without a lawyer. Don’t go to court without a lawyer, period.

“Ask if he’s a cop. He has to tell you if you ask.”

That is a load of bullhockey. I bet the police love that myth though.

As a tangent to this, I was reading an article about a court case back in 2013 (Salinas v. Texas) which set a legal precedent that 5th amendment rights must be explicitly invoked in order for silence to be inadmissible in court. I guess the Salinas’ total silence during the proceedings was used as evidence for his guilt. Which I feel goes a bit against he spirit of the law, but hey, did you think lawyers got their reputations for nothing?

Done something possibly illegal?

“Take to the sea!”

Well, there was that time I was imprisoned for killing my husband, a crime of which I was completely innocent, heck they never even found his body. Then I discovered that Hubby had actually faked his death, and framed me for the murder. Thankfully, a fellow inmate told me that once I got paroled, I could legally hunt down Hubby and kill him with impunity, and the law couldn’t hold me responsible. Because that would be Double Jeopardy, don’tcha see…

I had a friend who broke up with his girlfriend and she proceeded to write a 6 page “legal document” explaining that he couldn’t go after her for future debts and anything that was still in her house at time of break-up wasnow her property. In addition he couldn’t contact her at all and even being within 100 feet of her was grounds for arrest (since they went to the same college this would be a problem). Then she put it in a fancy binder, signed it, and got it notorized before handing it to him. She wasn’t a law student and there was numerous misspellings and completely random bullet points (He kept the cat but had to rename it since she owned the copyright on the cat’s name since she named it), he would show it to people on campus and everyone had a good laugh over it. Don’t know if anything else actually happened with it.

When I was in college, the city cops would actually detain whole huge groups of students for jaywalking across the main city street near the campus. A group of four or five cops or so would show up at an intersection and just marshal everyone who crossed against the light into the jaywalking ticket line.

“Drag the body back inside.”

NEVER monkey with a crime scene, no matter who tells you to do so - you WILL get caught, and it WILL look very bad.