St. Paddy’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend and you may not realize the legal ramifications if you partake in some holiday traditions.
For example, if you plan to pinch someone, or catch a leprechaun to get wishes, then you need to be informed now before heading out on March 17th for your green beer and Shenanigans!
No green? Pinch your way to an assault!
You know the way it works; if someone isn’t wearing green, then they must be pinched! However, do you realize that pinching someone may open you up to criminal and civil liability?
I know it’s a buzz kill, but it’s true. Despite this being tradition, pinching someone without their consent has legal ramifications. You commit an Assault if you intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another when you know, or reasonably should believe, that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
You can be prosecuted criminally for assault, which is a Class C Misdemeanor, or you can be sued civilly for damages. In essence, think twice before pinching.
—See Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01(a)(3);
Leprechauns and Wishes!
The legend of the Leprechaun states that if you capture him, then he must grant you three wishes. The question is, can you legally enforce his wish granting? Can you even legally capture him? The answer: Probably not and definitely no.
The promise to grant wishes would be governed by contract law. To have a valid contract, two individuals must come to a mutual agreement to exchange something of value. However, any promise or agreement made under duress would be voidable. Capturing a Leprechaun and forcing him to grant you wishes would likely qualify as duress and allow him to void the wishes.
This brings us to our next point. If you capture and hold a Leprechaun, without his consent, and demand your three wishes, then you could be criminally prosecuted for aggravated kidnapping, and sued civilly for false imprisonment.
Aggravated Kidnapping occurs if you intentionally or knowingly abduct another person with the intent of holding them for ransom or reward; which is a third degree felony.
False imprisonment occurs if you willfully detain someone, without their consent, and without authority of law. You could be liable for damages to the Leprechaun, as well as any damage or injury that occurs if he attempts to escape.
—See Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Castillo, 693 SW 2d 374, 375 (Tex. 1985)
Luck o’ the Irish
For whatever reason you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, go and enjoy it wisely and safely. Of course, now that you’re informed of the legal pitfalls, you can celebrate without needing to rely on your four leafed clover to avoid visiting your attorney the next day!
–Authored by James R. Palomo, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Civil Litigation Division
1101 Broadway, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3303
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479