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Office LocationKamerow Law Firm, PLLC
5001 Seminary Road, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22311
In decades past, it was legal for a two-year-old son to drink a beer at a restaurant while in the company of his father, but the 20-year-old father was not allowed to drink because he was underage.
Laws are usually spelled out with clear, unambiguous, and readily comprehensible language. Laws are also enacted for a specific purpose. In other words, statutes are created either to protect against a specific harm or to maintain a specific aspect of order within society. At times, however, there can be a discrepancy between the words and sentences expressing a law, and the intended purpose for that law.
A loophole arises when the language of a law, or of a series of laws, somehow diverges with the intended purpose of the law. To understand this concept, consider the following theoretical scenario:
A statute in a southeastern state provides that “alligators, being endangered in this state, shall not be hunted.” Meanwhile, another statute allows that “for the safety of humans, any residential property owner may shoot and kill an alligator that enters onto property and presents a danger to the occupants of the land.” In an effort to utilize the spoils of the animals rather than let it go to waste, the law allows that “any animal not illegally killed can be processed and sold . . .”
A property owner in the swamplands of that state regularly leaves large pieces of meat on his land near the water. No laws forbids this activity. The meat effectively acts as bait. The landowner receives a regular stream of alligators on his land and proceeds to harvest them as they appear, selling the skins online to the highest bidder, the meat to local restaurants, and the skulls and teeth to local gift shops. The purpose of the anti-poaching law is to protect limited populations of the animals, but the vague statute protecting human life and limb leaves the possibility that the landowner can create his own jeopardy by enticing the animals to appear on his land. Here, the landowner is acting within a loophole and overtly hunting alligators, but he does so in such a fashion that he violates no poaching laws. Simply put, he gets away with breaking the law in a practical sense.
Loopholes can snare you
Lawmakers continually enact new statutes and amend existing ones to prevent situations like the above. The words and sentences constituting the law are aimed at specific goals, either by prohibiting or mandating certain behaviors and when loopholes such as the fictitious one above are exposed, lawmakers amend statutes to prevent future violations of the intended purpose.
Do it yourself legal patterns
Because the law constantly changes, the undertaking of do-it-yourself legal tasks such as writing a will or executing a contract can be risky. Practices that were once legal might become prohibited at any time.
Get Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one undertook a legal task like the creation of a will or suffered some damage from mistakes while doing so, you need competent legal assistance. Licensed attorneys keep up to date on all changes in the law and can advise and act accordingly on your behalf. Contact the Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC, in Alexandria, at (703) 370-8088 for a free and confidential initial consultation.