What Does That Phrase (The laws sometimes sleep...) Mean?

No doubt you’ve seen the phrase “the laws sometimes sleep, but never die” in quote boxes on this website.  But do you understand what it means? Unless you had studied principles of law, you may not have even the vaguest idea.

Yet, if you have ever heard people make the comment about a law that it is “antiquated and out of date, but it’s still on the books,” then perhaps you have a better idea of what the above maxim means.  It means that even though a law may lie dormant over time and go unasserted, that given the right circumstances and someone willing to assert it, it can always be invoked, even though it may seem to go against the prevailing customs of the day.  Therefore such laws sleep but never fully die, that is, unless they are repealed from the books!  Of course, we are speaking here of written law (statutory law) being repealed, and not natural law (which forms the basis of the common law which was used as the basis of law at this country’s founding).

Within the present circumstance, when dealing with traffic codes and regulations, which in the vast majority of cases amount merely to reasonable guidelines suggested for prudent behavior on the roadways, unless a person is acting in commerce (hauling freight and/or passengers for profit), the codes and regulations are superflous and have no teeth in positive law.  For, has it not also been stated in court in such cases as Bennett v. Boggs, 1 Baldw. 60 (1830), that “Statutes that violate the plain and obvious principles of common right and common reason are null and void.” All of which means that unless a person admits to being under the binding aspects of a contract or agreement with the state (i.e., within the statutory jurisdiction), that he can pretty much violate all traffic codes and regulations with impunity as long as he refrains from damaging or violating the property or rights of another.

One would think, having read the foregoing, that the courts would be aware of these facts of law and case decisions.  And that because of this, their judges should readily dismiss the vast majority of such cases where there was no victim.  But unless you bring these case holdings up in court and rebut the presumption of contractual obligation, they lie dormant, unused and uninvoked. Therefore, without knowing how to properly object to an application of law in court, one is left with the fact of not having invoked a remedy to a situation with which he is faced.

However beyond these points of relevancy, the point of emphasizing this maxim here is to bring to light the fact that if you do not agree to the forum (or court) you are in, you are under no compunction to remain there.  In such a circumstance it is your autonomous (sovereign) right to invoke the type of court in which you agree to be heard.  Since traffic court is an administrative court and not a judicial court, you have the right to recuse the traffic court judge and insist on a hearing in a superior “court of record” under the common law. Traffic court is an inferior “court of no record” adjudicating administrative law under which one may be compelled to perform (that is, whether or not there was an actual injured party making a claim). But you have to be aware of this right and have the presence of mind to invoke it if you wish to benefit from it. 

In addition, there is a corollary maxim to the above maxim of law that reads: “When the common law and statute law concur, the common law is to be preferred.”  As one of the people who is, as far as you know, not tied to any binding agreement with the State – such as the terms of a take-it-or-leave-it adhesion contract, which is seemingly what the driver license purports to be – you cannot be held, in the common law, to the enforcement of an unconscionable contract where there is no negotiation of the terms or meeting of minds.

So, remember, even though there are statutory laws or adminstrative traffic codes and regulations forbidding this or that, that if these laws or codes do not apply to you in your specific situation (in other words you are not a state employee engaged by contract with the state or acting in commerce with your chosen conveyance of locomotion), that you are well within your rights to avoid that jurisdiction by invoking the common law and bringing that sleeping law to life in the course of seeking remedy from administrative procedure!

If you would like to learn more about concepts of law so you can avoid the whole mess without having to “appear” in court, you can download our free ebook Common Law Remedy To Beat Traffic Tickets and learn about the secrets that the courts and legal profession don’t want you to know.

If you’d like to learn more about the law and how it can serve you, don’t hesitate to check out our Articles on Traffic Law section. Discover some of the secrets of law that you’ve never been taught!

Ubi factum nullum ibi sortia nulla.  Where there is no deed committed, there can be no consequence.