September 2023

Is It Legal To Do a Burnout?

Written by , Posted in Traffic Law

smokey tire doing a burnout on asphalt illegally


The legality of doing a burnout varies depending on your location and the circumstances. As thrill-inducing as this maneuver can be, in the U.S. and many other places, burnouts are viewed as reckless driving and are illegal when done on public roads and highways. Engaging in such behavior can result in tickets and fines, loss of your driving privileges, and in some cases, jail time, especially if the burnout causes an accident or is done in a dangerous manner.

However, there might be certain designated areas or events, like a motorsports event, where you are allowed to perform burnouts. It’s advisable to check the laws and regulations in your local area or consult with a legal professional to understand the specifics regarding burnouts.

It’s not likely you’ll get caught if you’re doing it in a remote area, but just know that technically it’s illegal. Also there’s a difference between a chirp or two of a tire of an aggressive launch, and a full-on smokey burnout. For example, a small non-smokey spinning of the tires can happen accidentally due to bad traction or cheap tires and you can prove ignorance with cops, but not with a full on smoke show in front of a crowd..

Is it legal to do a burnout on private property?

On private property, the rules regarding burnouts can be more lenient, but it still largely depends on local laws and ordinances. Some jurisdictions may have ordinances that prohibit certain types of noise, nuisance, or hazardous behavior on private property. These regulations might be applied to burnouts regardless of where they are performed

I’d say it’s crucial to have the property owner’s permission to perform burnouts and drifting. Without it, you could be charged with trespassing or other offenses. Unlikely, but in a worst case scenario where you hit someone’s building or work truck, and they caught you on security camera doing burnouts, you may end up having to pay the bill if your insurance sees it!

Are there laws against burnouts?

Yes there are. Laws against burnouts will depend by state and jurisdiction, but for example, California Vehicle Code Section 23103 states: Driving with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” is considered reckless driving. Burnouts could easily fall under this definition due to the risks associated with losing control of the vehicle.



September 2023

Question: Is It Legal to Repair a John Deere Tractor?

Written by , Posted in Copyright Law

Answer: Yes, it is legal to repair your own John Deere tractor or take it to an independent repair shop. This hasn’t always been the case and we’ve been asked this question many times over the years.

In 2021, President Biden signed an executive order calling for a countrywide policy allowing customers to repair their products, especially in the agriculture sector. Very important. While John Deere has historically restricted independent repairs through their software policies and warranty language, they recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2023 that allows for wider access to tools and information while protecting intellectual property rights and ensuring equipment safety.

In simple words, if you fix your John Deere tractor by replacing a broken module, then telling the tractor’s ECU that this part is now fixed is ok and legal. On the otherhand, programing the ECU to run without the broken module may run afoul of laws. It’s not something most farmers or ranchers need to be worried about, but large aftermarket tractor repair shops should be careful as they don’t want to be sued!

Why it became legal to repair a John Deere Tractor based on our legal understanding:

  • As of 2023, many equipment owners have gained the right to repair their machines due to agreements like the one between the American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere.
  • The “Right to Repair Act” enacted in some US states, like New York and Massachusetts, has paved the way for equipment owners to choose independent repair services over authorized service facilities.
  • An executive order signed by President Biden in 2021 emphasizes countrywide policy allowing customers to repair their own products in sectors including agriculture, further legitimizing the rights of farmers to repair equipment like John Deere tractors.
  • In 2023, John Deere signed an agreement with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) that acknowledges farmers’ rights to repair their own machinery and grants them access to essential tools, software, and documentation. This partnership is a significant transition in John Deere’s relationship with farmers, allowing for more autonomy in repairing their equipment while also protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) addresses concerns on both sides and supports farmers during crucial farming seasons where delayed repairs could result in substantial financial losses.

Note: John Deere tractors are generally reliable and don’t need to be repaired too frequently. However there are common problems with their lawn tractors that need some consideration as an owner.

What are the potential consequences of illegally modifying the electronics of a John Deere tractor?

The potential consequences of illegally repairing the electronics of a John Deere tractor can include legal action and financial penalties. John Deere, like many other manufacturers, employs software locks and end-user license agreements to control who can access and repair their equipment. Violating these restrictions could result in copyright infringement claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In recent years, there have been instances where farmers faced lawsuits and fines for modifying or repairing their own tractors, highlighting the legal risks involved.



June 2023

Question: Is it legal to Dumpster Dive in Texas?

Written by , Posted in Property Law

Answer: Dumpster diving  in Texas is a permissible act if it’s carried out on public property. On the contrary, diving into dumpsters on private property is not legal unless consent is given by the property owners or renters–the law may impose trespassing charges for dumpster diving without the necessary authorization.

Additional Detail:
In Texas, the law allows the act of dumpster diving if it’s performed on property that is public.. Dumpster diving is also known as “binning” or “trashing” which basically means seeking out usable items from trash that was  discarded in large commercial or residential dumpsters. The law acknowledges the rights of individuals to reclaim discarded items from dumpsters that are placed in areas open to the public (in other words, once you’ve thrown something in the trash in a public place, you forfeit all property rights. Not true of course if you toss something in your own trashcan on the side of the house)

Bottom line is, the law restricts dumpster diving on private property however. It’s deemed illegal if you dumpster dive on private property, such as a business location or a residential building or house, unless the property owners or occupants have explicitly granted permission. The laws against trespassing in Texas, as well as local city or municipal ordinances and statutes, are the difference maker in thesse circumstances.

dumpster diving man in green dumpster

Also to note: trespassing on private property to gain access to dumpsters is also considered illegal (we wouldn’t recommend doing that in Texas regardless, especially at night. Texas Penal Code Section 9.41 allows a person to use force, but not deadly force, to terminate a mere trespass or interference with property. 

You may get away with it, but at best may face trespassing charges. At worst, you may be shot!

The Texas Penal Code Section 30.05 stipulates that a person commits an offense if they enter or remain on or in property of another without effective consent, particularly if they had notice that the entry was forbidden, or received notice to depart but failed to do so. Notice can be given through oral or written communication, fencing or other enclosure designed to exclude intruders, or signs posted on the property indicating that entry is forbidden??. The penalties for these offenses range from Class B to Class A misdemeanors depending on the nature and location of the trespass?.

So of course, the legality of dumpster diving in Texas depends on a variety of factors, primarily related to the location of the dumpster and whether permission has been granted by the property owner!! Always ensure compliance with local laws and regulations when engaging in such activities.

As they say, one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. If you want to do this, there’s even a Facebook group specifically for dumpster diving in Texas!




July 2022

Question: Is it legal to take your child on a long vacation when school is in session?

Written by , Posted in Family Law

Answer: Each U.S. state has truancy laws that vary in their strictness. Truancy means absent from school without permission.

For example, in California, all children between the ages of six and eighteen are required to attend public school, with exceptions for those who are homeschooled, attend private school, or who have special needs. Parents can be fined up to $2,500 and may face up to one year in jail if they permit their child to miss ten percent or more of school days. But only in the most chronic cases will school officials initiate legal action against a student or parents.

But many school districts have policies specifically designed to allow parents to take children out of school for longer family vacations. In some school districts, if a child will be absent for 5-15 days, parents may request Short Term Limited Independent Study. The teacher will then provide academic assignments for the student to complete while on vacation. After vacation, all completed work must be returned in order to receive academic credit. Remember that policies vary widely by school district and state, so contact your school first.




November 2015

Question: Is It Legal to let your spouse drive drunk?

Written by , Posted in Criminal Law


Assuming you do not serve a spouse to the point of intoxication and do not hand them the keys to the car when walking out the door intoxicated, as well as not giving them permission to drive your car if you know their driver’s license is suspended from a DUI, you are probably safe with one exception: minors in your care or custody- you may have a duty to object and/or or report any such child endangerment.

Additional note from attorney: “Bottom line is you’re most likely NOT legally responsible, however you could be held financially responsible if your spouse were to seriously injure someone. I once had a client that had DUI after DUI. His wife divorced him but they still remained in a relationship. She stated the divorce was merely to protect her from financial disaster.”


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