Can you safely say that you strictly abide by the rules? Are you aware of all of the laws that affect you and keep them in mind throughout your day? If the answer is yes, then you may be surprised to find that there are tonnes of common offences which although are unfamiliar to many, are classed as law-breaking – we can be almost certain that you have unintentionally broken one of these in your lifetime!
8 Common Offences You May Not Be Aware Of
Having operated as a voluntary police interview solicitor for many years, we have encountered an array of cases on varying topics. And while we can admit that the following have not quite made it as far as a caution plus 3 interview, you would be shocked at the number of everyday actions that can be classed as breaking the law. So, with this in mind, we are going to run through the following, just to name a few:
- Sounding Your Horn During Certain Times
- Cycling Through A Red Light
- Singing “Happy Birthday” In Public
- Smoking In A Non-Smoking Area
- Going Fishing Without A Licence
- Parking Opposite A Junction
- Vacuuming At The Wrong Time Of The Day
- Eating And Drinking While Driving
We have all been guilty of using our horn to express our anger with another driver or simply to let our friends know that we are outside waiting for them. However, according to The Highway Code, it is a criminal offence to use your horn for anything else but warning other road users of your presence. It is also illegal to use your horn during the hours of 11.30 pm, and 7.00 am when driving through a built-up area such as a housing estate. If you are to break these rules, then not only could you be faced with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £30 at a minimum, but you can also be reported to your local council for noise disturbances.
You would have thought that as a cyclist, the road laws are slightly less strict as there is less of a risk, right? Wrong! It is, in fact, also illegal for cyclists to continue to ride past the stop line when the traffic lights are red. The Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 36, states that failure to comply with road signs, including red lights, is an offence meaning that if you are caught, you could find yourself with a fixed penalty notice fine. Although this fine is typically around £50, it can reach as much as £1,000. For more information on the laws relating to cyclists, take a look at Cycling UK.
Have you ever wondered why restaurants such as TGI Fridays sing their own birthday song and not “happy birthday”? Or why you hardly ever hear the song in films or TV shows? The reason is actually that “happy birthday” is copyrighted, which means that singing it in public without the rights to do so is breaking the law. Back in the 1980s, the song rights were purchased by Warner/Chappell for a huge £16m and it’s likely to stay this way until at least 2030.
You may remember that in July 2007, the Smoke Free law was actioned to limit the harmful impact of second-hand smoke. This does mean that it is now illegal to smoke in a non-smoking area, even if there is no one else around. Depending on the situations that you are caught breaking the law in, the consequences do differ. For example, if you smoke in a non-smoking area at work, then the maximum fine is £200. Whereas if you are a commercial property owner and do not abide by the Smoke Free law regulations, this could rise to up to £2,500.
Especially during the current climate, fishing has become an escape for many; however, if you are not a licenced angler, then your hobby is breaking the law. The consequences for fishing without a licence includes a fine of up to £2,500, seized equipment and a possible ban from fishing altogether. Nevertheless, gaining a licence is relatively straightforward, and you can apply for one through the GOV.UK website. You can opt for just a one day pass or extend your cover for 12 months.
As drivers, we are all more than aware of The Highway Code, but unless you took the time to read through the rules thoroughly, we could be almost sure that there are a handful of laws that you missed. One of the most common is parking opposite a junction, which is classed as a driving offence if you are to be parked within 10 metres of the intersection. This is because it causes a significant obstruction for other road users, proving potentially dangerous due to increased blind spots. If you are caught breaking this rule, then much like any other parking offence, the police can issue you a ticket.
Okay, so this is an offence that we cannot quite get our head around but is true, which means that it’s likely that it has been unintentionally broken by us all. It is actually against the law to vacuum your house between 6pm and 8am on weekdays, as well as between 1pm and 8am on weekends. This is because it is seen as causing excess noise disturbances to your neighbours, which means that if it does disturb them, they are within their right to report you.
Although the act of eating and drinking while driving is not illegal, if it is to cause any distractions or disturbs your quality of driving, then the police are within their right to charge you with careless driving. You can be pulled over and fined up to £100 on the spot, as well as be issued three penalty points on your licence. Other common actions while driving which you can be prosecuted for include smoking, adjusting your radio and reading a map.
Staying On The Right Side Of The Law
No one wants to find themselves with a fine or penalty points for a law that they were not aware of, which means that regularly researching the latest law updates will always work towards your advantage. Although these are just small offences, it is important to take the law seriously and work towards staying the right side of the law. If you do find yourself invited for a police interview under caution, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with SJB Legal. We are available on a 24/7 basis, able to offer representation in several areas across the country.