Law Basics –

Someone on Irongeek’s timeline inquired about resources for the learning the basics of law, one’s rights when dealing with police, so on & so forth.

legal gavel on a law book

A highly recommended YouTube is here. Even if you don’t read anything after this, you should watch this video:

Don’t talk to the Police

Two books that I came across recently that deal with this subject are:

Law 101 – A guide for everyday legal questions – this book is great if you’ve never been in a legal situation before & are unsure what happens when it comes to investigations, retaining council, bail, prosecution/defense, witnesses, and so on

Law 101 – Everything you need to know about American Law – This book covers law & cases that may be relevant to key laws, rights & statutes we take for granted (read as: landmark decisions, the theory & concepts behind concepts such as mental state, etc)

Black’s Law Dictionary – note: there is a ‘pocket’ edition of this book & a larger ‘Deluxe’ edition – the pocket edition is probably good enough for your purposes

Barron Police Officer Study Guide – Although this isn’t required reading, it does help to get into the mindset of how police officers think. If you aren’t in any legal trouble, but you want to understand why police officers act the way they do, this book explains many of the concepts they are taught.

Some resources that people typically recommend:
law.justia.com – usually has an (almost) up to date listing of law statutes by state.
Cornell LII – amazing resource & a great jumping pad to other websites & resources, such as your local State law.
DOJ CCIP – Department of Justice page on Computer Crime & Intellectual Property
Avvo – Interesting forum based site with a Q/A format similar to Quora
(Insert your local state here) – By far the best resource is your website’s State Legislature (usually leginfo.state.xy.us) — they will have the current statues in zip format. The zip format will include plaintext (txt & rtf) along with infobase formats for inserting into a system.

Some key takeaways I had with some research:
* Know how law statues are referenced & how to look them up easily
* If you or someone you know is in a bad situation, it is always best to get an attorney first. On average, an attorney may cost ~$300 an hour, at 3 hour minimums
* It’s always best to not tell anyone anything about your current situation unless they are immediate family, or may have dealt with the situation you are in
* In case of an emergency, look up the bail schedule for charge(s) that are potentially being put against you or the person you know. You want to be prepared for the worst case scenario
* Remember, much of legalese comes down largely to intent & state of mind (see: Law 101 – Everything you need to know about American Law — this book has a great section on this)
* Understanding some of the basic legal lingo goes a long way with reading case law, court decisions, Supreme Court opinions, etc
* Know what degree crime is being levvied – this goes a long in understanding the seriousness of a matter
* Research the statute of limitations – be aware that the clock starts ticking once a crime has been discovered to have taken place.

That’s all I have for now. This was just a quick brain dump.