Top 10 Legal Misconceptions You Thought Were True
Often, what we consider as normal business strategy or even applied common sense, is nothing but our own sound knowledge of the legal system. Some matters are too important to leave them entirely to the lawyers. Since our livelihood depends on a nation that is full to the brim with its many rules and laws, it only makes sense to keep oneself aware of the legal system and stay updated with any development on this front. Here is a list of some top legal misconceptions, awareness of which can prove to be a boon to the daily life of individuals.
Personal assets can be protected by business entities –
This is a myth that many small time entrepreneurs and business men tend to believe in. It is worthwhile to note that the protection that one begets by forming a corporation or an LLC related to the business can offer only limited protection. In fact, the protection offered is far more limited than what one may realize. It is worth knowing that if someone has a hidden agenda to go after your personal assets, it is quite easy for them to harm the business entity.
Intellectual properties are safeguarded by patents and NDAs –
It requires a great amount of talent to file an effective patent disclosure. Only experience in the relevant field can make one knowledgeable about all the right claims, which is not only a science, but also quite expensive on the pocket. Even if all the precaution seems to have been taken, it is very easy for big companies to steal your ideas simply because they have more funds and can outlast you in litigation. It becomes all the more difficult if the concerned company is one that is not based in your country.
Communication between a client and his attorney is totally confidential –
The privilege of a communication between an attorney and a client is not even close to being an absolute fool proof channel. Several sorts of exceptions to situations apply and this gives rise to a number of loopholes. It has been observed a lot many times that a judge can intervene in this privileged channel of communication. So, any kind of communication with the attorney must be well thought of before engaging into.
The best legal contracts are full of complicated legal jargon –
It is a myth that the best contracts have to contain latinate sentence constructions and must be full of terms that are difficult or even impossible to understand by the common man. The best contracts are the one that explain all the terms of the contract, the intent of the people involved in the contract in a clear and crisp manner. Complicated legal jargon is not an absolute necessity of legal contracts. Getting involved with an attorney for drafting an agreement is also not necessary. It is, however advisable to proof – read the contract for any apparent mistake.
Online activities are protected from libel claims –
This is an absolutely false myth going around in the online arena. The U.S. Supreme Court believes that everyone has the same exact rights and responsibilities under the law that deals with defamation. Even if you intend to or practice prefix your statement with “in my opinion”, you cannot get away from what you state if you fall under a libel claim. If your comments or posts sound like a statement of fact, you may have to defend your claim in court, if the concerned statement of fact ends up damaging someone’s reputation of defaming someone’s character.
Any injuries on your property must be paid for by you-
The truth is that one cannot be held responsible for any act of negligence or stupidity on the part of others, even if it happens to be on your property. Even criminal activity on your property has to be expressly linked to you before you are deemed liable for any damages that it entails. A related myth to this is that liability insurance covers all injuries on your property. It is worthwhile to note that if one has inflicted intentional harm or has been negligent enough, the deal with the insurance company is off.
One cannot be sued for a crime that one didn’t commit –
This one is absolutely wrong. One can be sued for anything and everything. One can be sued by anybody and for any amount that they deem fit. This is because there is hardly any law that protects one from any frivolous claims in America.
Contact an attorney only as a last resort –
It seems outright pointless to waste hordes of money on unnecessary matters. An attorney fee is no doubt very high. But in the end, the counsel only saves you a fortune. And the fee that you have to bear is not more than a few hundred dollars. It therefore makes sense to get legal help as soon as a legal matter comes up.
Brand names are needed only for filing trademarks –
It is a very complex affair to obtain and protect trademarks. There are many a limitations to this. Trademarks are only limited to specific markets and one cannot have a blanket trademark for any product in the concerned industry. It is also possible to lose one’s trademark over a product under certain conditions. Secondly, one is afforded some protection even if one don’t file for a trademark.
DUI charge cannot be applied on a private property-
This is a very widely held misconception. One can be charged with a DUI conviction, even if one is sleeping it off in one’s own driveway in an inebriated state and has the car keys in the pocket. Another instance when one can be charged with DUI is when one is relaxing with some beer in one’s own porch, but is unruly and raucous enough to attract the attention of an officer who is simply passing by.
The conclusion is that one must be aware of the state laws and not fall prey to rumors or myths. In the long run, keeping oneself updated benefits a lot.
Shawn Dsouza is an online strategist for Reno-dui-attorney.com and he likes to contribute on various issues related to law and legal matters.