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Does anyone know how many laws there are? 

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If you want to know how many laws there are, either at the state or the federal level, it’s certainly possible to look it up. Odds are, you will be surprised by the sheer amount of laws that are currently on the books. Part of this is because it is more common for new laws to be introduced than for old laws to be taken off.

But in a realistic sense, on a daily basis, does anyone actually know how many laws there are? Some reports have noted that even the individuals in charge of making these laws don’t know how many exist. By that metric, how is it possible for your everyday citizen to both know about all of the laws and follow those laws to the letter every single day?

Ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law

You may say that it’s impossible for someone to know all the laws. And that’s probably true, in the sense that most people have not memorized all the laws that they have to follow.

This creates an interesting conundrum, though, because ignorance is generally not allowed to be used as an excuse for breaking the law. You can’t say that you just didn’t know what the law was and get away with it. Someone who is accused of shoplifting, for instance, cannot say that they didn’t know they were supposed to pay.

And, while this theory may work for basic crimes, like shoplifting or distributing illegal drugs, it is very possible that there are numerous minor laws that you break every single day, without even knowing that you’re doing it. Some have gone so far as to say that everyone is a criminal, whether they know it or not. If this means that you do end up facing serious legal charges, be sure you know what steps you can take.