Is It Legal? 5 Things That Aren’t a Crime in the U.S.

Most people have an intuitive sense of what constitutes a crime. For example, you probably know that taking something from a store without paying for it is a shoplifting offense. And while you may not go to jail for running a red light, you may end up with a traffic citation if a police officer sees you do it.

Our laws are put in place to make sure society functions as safely as possible. At the same time, these laws need to be balanced against personal freedom.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact a Dallas criminal defense lawyer right away.

In some cases, many might argue these personal freedom go just a touch too far. Here are five things that are perfectly legal in the U.S. – even though some might argue they probably should be outlawed, or at least regulated a bit.

1. Barefoot Driving

Try to order a cheeseburger without shoes, and you might get asked to leave. No shirt, no shoes, no service has become something of a mantra for restaurants and retailers across the country.

You probably won’t get service without footwear, but it is legal to operate a vehicle barefoot in all 50 states. In Ohio, the law even explicitly states that operating a vehicle without footwear is permitted, however, the statute also says it’s not recommended.

On the other hand, if you cause an accident because your lack of shoes caused you to lose control of your vehicle, you may be held liable in civil court for any injuries caused by the crash.

Read more about barefoot driving in the U.S., including some interesting facts about how often barefoot drivers cause accidents.

2. Counting Cards

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. If you count cards, however, you might not get to stay very long. The casinos reserve the right to ask guests to leave if casino officials suspect card counting. This has led many people to assume it’s a crime to count cards.

In fact, counting cards is not a criminal offense. In fact, several students from MIT gained fame – and quite a bit of money – by outwitting the casinos in an elaborate card counting scheme.

3. Parking a Tank in Your Backyard

If you have the space and the extra cash, you might be able to add a tank to your personal vehicles. The Wall Street Journal published a report about a small fraternity of tank owners in various states, including Texas.

These tank owners are mostly war memorabilia collectors, but many take their unique vehicles out for parades and other events. Generally, private citizens can purchase a tank as long as they have the proper government permit. Before you buy, however, check your local laws to make sure your municipality doesn’t have a special law on the books prohibiting residents from storing oversized vehicles within city limits.

4. Police Lying During Questioning

The police are specifically trained to get suspects and detainees to confess to criminal acts. Not only are police not required to be truthful when they talk to you, they are trained to lie if it means obtaining an admission of guilt.

In recent years, several courts have attempted to curtail police bluffing techniques, but the practice remains widespread. This is why it’s critically important to get a criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible after being questioned about a crime or detained or arrested during a criminal investigation.

5. Corporal Punishment in Schools

According to a United Nations report, school-administered corporal punishment is banned in 42 countries.

In the United States, the states are split on corporal punishment in schools, with the majority of states outlawing it by statute. Texas is one of 18 states that still permits schools to use physical discipline.

Contact a Dallas, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, don’t take risks with your freedom. Get in touch with a Dallas, Texas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The criminal defense lawyers at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP are Board Certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.