When you least expect it: Five things that can land you in legal trouble

Scanning through the court reports in the daily paper, they just jump out at you: Frisbee on the beach? Annoying phone calls? Picking Flowers? Those are crimes? What, are we back in the medieval times when a person could easily get their head taken off for giving the wrong look to the wrong person?

While we may not have gone to this extreme, many places here in the United States have laws that prevent people from performing a variety of different activities, many of which are every day activities for some people. Lots of things can land average citizens, good-intentioned folks who have never committed a crime and mean no ill-will toward anyone, in legal hot water. While some of these things might be amusing and funny, they have caused legal problems for real people all over this country.

Dog bites

Here in the U.S., you are required to have permits and registrations for your animals, making them legally your own. While this means that no one can ever come and just take your pets away, it also means that you have a legal responsibility for their actions. Thus, when your dog bolts out the door and playfully bites your mailman in the rear, you could actually face a lawsuit for the animal’s actions. With this in mind, it is extremely important that you properly train your dog, or any other pet, to behave properly around strangers. If they cannot do this, you will need to keep them tied up or locked up in an enclosed area in order to avoid costly lawsuits.

Playing Frisbee

Yes, indeed. It’s true. Some local municipalities have odd rules and odd ordinances, and while violating them won’t land you in the federal penitentiary, they sure can make your life uncomfortable. Most of us know not to urinate in public, but who knows they can land in trouble for playing Frisbee? Frisbee can actually have the potential to be dangerous in a public place, since the disc that is used is difficult to control and can easily be influenced by gusts of wind. One wrong throw can end up with the disc hitting a person or vehicle, which can cause an enormous amount of damage if luck isn’t on your side.


Attorneys and certified public accountants know about these rules, but the average volunteer does not – and that can land you in trouble. Commingling literally means you cannot mix your own money with that belonging to someone else. So what’s the big deal? Those most-often charged with this crime are Boy Scout treasurers, the guy selling tickets at the Friday night football games, and the bookkeeper for the local charity. Innocent as your intentions may be, if a problem arises and the books are mixed up, you could find yourself in need of an experienced attorney in San Diego.

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Making annoying phone calls

Yep, your ex can press charges against you for all of the phone calls that you continue to make, trying to win her back. Again, those charged seldom have evil intentions. Yes, they may be annoyed. Yes, they may feel wronged. And yes, they are making their point. But be careful. It’s another way you can find yourself in legal trouble without ever intending to do anything wrong. With the spread of technology, this issue has also spread to texts, emails, and social media sites. If a person every tells you to stop bothering them, then back away and stop immediately. If you don’t do this, you could end up with the police knocking on your door.

Picking flowers

Good citizens don’t steal flowers, of course. But just one? What about a piece of fruit in a park? A wild blackberry? Johnny Cash famously sang about his visit to the Starkville City Jail. While his account may have been fictitious, it is true that picking flowers or even taking souvenir rocks from beaches is a crime in many public places. While you might think that you aren’t causing any harm, what if everyone did the same thing as you? If this were the case, many public areas would be permanently destroyed, which makes it important that local authorities strictly enforce laws that protect these areas so that they can be enjoyed by everyone.

Know the laws. Read the signs. Follow your conscience. There are plenty of laws that you probably don’t know about, but you more than likely will never get in trouble if you just be smart and try to avoid trouble.

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