Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy in creating or worsening legal problems for yourself. There have been a bunch I’ve seen this year, some public, some private, but all are just silly mistakes that could have been easily avoided with some common sense or basic understanding of the law.
- Lance Armstrong – He might have won the legal idiot of the year for the manner in which he “came clean.” Who knows what to believe with that guy, but he’s already going through numerous lawsuits that could cost him tens of millions of dollars. He confessed to try and save what is left of his image, but would have been way smarter to do so after he resolved all of his cases. Now he has no leverage, no defense and could face Federal criminal charges. No lawyer in the world would have recommended his Rod Blagojevich strategy of talking to Oprah.
- Uninformed tenant – I was called by a woman who needed a lawyer because she was being evicted. I asked her why that was happening and she said it was for not paying her rent for three months. I then said that was a good reason to evict someone. She agreed, but responded that she had paid in cash and was refused a receipt each time. Now the landlord is denying she paid at all. It’s a he-said, she-said situation and she is going to lose as she has no proof. Never ever pay someone in cash. Write a check, get a money order or get a receipt written out first.
- Uninformed baby Daddy – This man that called me has a child support order. He lost his job and could not find work. He thought this would get him off the hook for child support, but it did not because he never went to court to get a court order lowering his payments based on his lower unemployment benefits. So now he owes a ton of back child support and had his license suspended when he could have avoided this all with one simple court motion.
- Toll jumper – No one likes to pay tolls, especially when you have to wait in a line. That’s why the I-Pass was invented. But some people like to go in the I-Pass lane even when they don’t have one. A caller to my office did this over 40 times and now is being charged fines in thousands of dollars. He thinks he should be able to send in $100 to get out of this, but that will never happen. He knew what he was doing was wrong, got caught and not even the best lawyer in the world or an average one like me could get him out of this mess. This means his license will probably get suspended which I imagine will start a whole other slippery slope of silly legal trouble like driving on a suspended license. He’ll continue to dig himself a hole and if he gets in an accident without insurance (which he won’t have without a license) things could get a whole lot worse.
- Wishing upon a star – Desperate people will believe unreasonable things are true because they want so badly for it to be true. In the case of the panicked person that reached out to me, they sent $500 in the mail to someone who said it was needed for taxes before they could pay them their $5,000 lottery winnings from a bogus online contest. She thought it was too good to be true, but still sent her last $500 to make it happen instead of paying her rent. Of course it was a scam. It’s always a scam. If she just trusted her common sense she could have avoided this problem. That money is gone and she’s never going to get it back.
- Donne Trotter – This is the State Rep that wanted to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress. He got arrested after he “forgot” that he had a loaded handgun in his bag that he brought to the airport. Maybe I’m being naïve here, but how do you forget that you have a loaded gun on you? And if you do forget that, should you be allowed to have a gun at all? Now he faces felony charges which could not only result in jail time, but also cause him to lose his rights to possess a gun at all. And his Congressional dreams are over. This actually happened last year, but I just saw it, so it’s this year for me.
- Chief Keef – I’m getting old because I have no idea who he is, but he’s been in the paper a bunch for his crimes and he’s only 17. Apparently he’s a famous rapper. He just got sent back to jail for a parole violation. If you are 17 and a famous rapper, you’ve basically won the lottery. Instead of making a ton of money and enjoying the spoils of being famous, he’s probably getting his ass kicked in jail as we speak. All because of dumb decisions that could have been easily avoided. By the time he gets out, the world may already be on to the next big thing and he may find himself washed up before 20.
- Dumb braggart – Got a call from a guy that was arrested for retail theft. That in of itself isn’t unusual and it happens every day. What made this caller an idiot was that instead of getting away with his crime and living to fight another day, he posted it on Facebook and that’s how he got caught. We see this type of bravado all the time from people that are faking work injuries or lying about their taxes or cheating on their spouse. The worst is probably the kids that beat up other kids and then post that for others to see. Just like Lance Armstrong, when you give them the evidence they need to get you, you are being incredibly foolish.
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