Learn Your Crime, or Do the Time

We’ve all heard the phrase that if you do the crime, you’ll do the time. But there’s a subset of that phrase that could be valuable as well. And that is that you have to learn your crime or you will do the time. In other words, if you’re ignorant about specific types of law enforcement regulations, you may end up on the wrong side of police activity.

A few examples can illustrate what that might mean. For example, there are several types of white-collar crime that you may not be familiar with. In a business setting, you might think that something is fine to do – only to find out later that it is entirely illegal. 

Also, there are crimes that people commit because they are being emotional. You might not know in advance that reacting in a specific way to a situation is actually a crime. And lastly, there are crimes of ignorance regarding things like drug scheduling. You may think it’s okay behaviorally to have or use drugs in a specific way, but there may be laws against it.

White-Collar Crime

People in high-end jobs can do illegal things just like anyone else. That said, if you do commit a crime as a manager, you’ll probably need to hire a white-collar crime lawyer as soon as possible. For people who have money and commit nonviolent crimes, it can seem like the legal system is an entirely different structure as opposed to violent crimes or trials that involve people who don’t have money to pay high-powered lawyers.

Emotional Crimes

There are emotional crimes and crimes of passion that you may not be familiar with. For example, lots of people defend their online behavior by claiming that they are protected by freedom of speech. However, there are plenty of laws against hate speech online. It is unusual for them to get prosecuted in many cases just because of the sheer volume, but that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t end up being made an example of in the right context.

Crimes of Ignorance

Finally, there are crimes of sheer ignorance. For example, if you don’t know how drugs are scheduled, how would you know that you could end up in jail for having a small amount of marijuana or someone else’s prescription drugs on you? If you’ve never been familiarized with specific laws, especially regarding the recreational use of substances, then you can end up in hot water very quickly merely for not being informed in the first place.

Jails are full of people who claim that they didn’t know better at the time, but this is not an excuse for criminal behavior.