Every law student will go through some version of this annoying, awkward, embarrassing conversation at least once (probably more like 8 gazillion times) during their stint at law school:
Non-Law School Person: Oh you’re in law school? GREAT, maybe you can help me. Recently, I was pulled over by a cop, and he thought I was drunk, and like the breathalyzer said I was, but really I’d had *one* drink, maybe two, and he also ended up charging me with soliciting a prostitute because he’d apparently seen me talking to this woman on the street who got into my car, but really she’s just a friend that I know, and the fact that she had glow-in-the-dark butt plugs in her purse is more a reflection of her being a sexually empowered female, and I think it’s wrong that they, you know “law enforcement,” would assume that it means she’s a prostitute because she’s totally not. Anyway, I have a hearing coming up, and I don’t trust the public defender I was assigned, and really the charges are total bullshit, and it’s all just the man trying to keep me down, but what do you think?
Me: Um, criminal law is really not my practice area. (This is true, but I would say it no matter what practice area they asked me about).
Non-Law School Person: Yea, but just a summary. I mean do you think the officer had probable cause to pull me over in the first place? What about the warrant, can we go after that? *More rambles about lots of criminal procedure that this guy somehow knows better than I do.*
Me: . . .
Non-Law School Person: *expectant stare*
Me: *Sighs* I really don’t know anything about the law surrounding the probative value of carrying butt plugs in your purse to the issue of “are you a prostitute who was solicited by the dude driving the car you got into.” I’d have to do some research. I would consult a private criminal defense attorney if you can.
I’m not judging. I just don’t know.
Message to all legal laymen: “The law” is not some giant book that we all memorize, and that is applied equally and scientifically to all cases. It’s amorphous, fact intensive, and includes gazillions of cases that are, yes, binding law. Stop asking me questions.
I’m not bitter. I swear.