You believe you are a pretty good citizen, avoiding things you know will just get you in trouble and even steering clear of anything you think is remotely resembling breaking a law. However, every year, well-meaning citizens get charged with crimes, and it is often a total shocker to the person involved.
The fact is, the legal system is complex, often changing from state to state, and the laws are ever changing or under revision. Therefore, it can be a whole lot easier than you suspect to end up facing a criminal charge and needing a defense attorney. Here are a few examples of things you should avoid if you want to avoid getting charged with a crime.
Be careful about getting lost in the wilderness.
If you like to hit wilderness trails on your ATV, motorbike, or snowmobile, be careful that you don't veer too far off the beaten path and end up somewhere you shouldn't be. In 1996, Bobby Unser got lost on a snowmobile with a friend in Colorado due to a blizzard and was later charged with misdemeanor charges because of the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act makes it a punishable crime to take any type of motor vehicle in designated wildlife preservation areas or certain parts of national forests.
Make sure you don't inadvertently support terrorism.
If you set up a website online and create links to other websites where users can find more information, and one of the suggested sites happens to be linked to or associated with a terrorist organization by accident, you could be charged with providing support in material form to terrorists, which is a federally punishable crime. There have been several cases in which website developers have been charged with terrorist-supporting crimes, which is a charge that takes a good criminal defense lawyer to argue your case. So no matter what, make sure you are extremely cautious when it comes to setting up a website or providing website services online.
Take heed when it comes to destroying someone else's illegal items.
Pretend for a moment that you share a home with several other roommates. You come across a bag of cocaine and decide the best thing to do is flush it and get it out of the house. While your intentions may be good, as you are essentially just trying to get rid of the illegal substance, just doing this could interfere with a DEA investigation if it has already begun and get you charged with obstruction of justice or tampering with physical evidence. As much as you may not want to be a rat, it is best to turn in what you find or leave it alone and file a report with the authorities.