Within the Statute

Within the Statute

Encompassed by, or included under, the provisions and scope of a particular law.

In the U.S. legal system, a person who is charged with violating a statute must have committed actions that are specifically addressed in the law. When a person's actions comport with the language of the law, the actions are said to be "within the statute."

Troublesome questions arise, however, when a statute is too general or not specific enough in providing information on the proscribed acts. For example, Vagrancy laws were used to arrest and detain persons the police believed had or were about to commit crimes. A person could be arrested for having no permanent address or for moving "aimlessly" through the streets. In Papachristou v. Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156, 92 S. Ct. 839, 31 L. Ed. 2d 110 (1972), however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Florida vagrancy statute was unconstitutional because it was too vague to be understood. The Court emphasized that a person cannot avoid engaging in criminal conduct, if prior to engaging in it, he cannot determine that the conduct is forbidden by law.

In Criminal Law, the courts apply the rule of lenity to deal with ambiguities in criminal statutes. The general rule is that an Ambiguity in a criminal statute should be resolved in favor of the defendant. Therefore, a court will choose the more lenient interpretation in determining the punishment.


Void for Vagueness Doctrine.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
While ruling on the suit, the Supreme Court dismissed it and held that it was not filed within the statute time stipulated by the law.
He said he presumes that the plaintiffs filed the action to ensure that their claims were filed within the statute of limitations.
Tomlin's lawsuit was filed after the stay was lifted because her case was still within the statute of limitations, Leonard said.
Sheffield wrote that the original petition was filed within the statute of limitations, the hospital was a named defendant in that suit, it remained a party until the petition was amended and it was sued again within a year of being dropped.
So they are operating within the statute. It just would be helpful information from our side.
Her ministry, she said, was currently reviewing Bogosi Act to incorporate Headmen of Arbitration within the statute, including their duties and responsibilities.
Failure to file within the statute of limitations is treated as a failure to state a claim.
Singal also challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his client's convictions, given that at least some of the conduct had not taken place within the statute of limitations period.
McConnell wrote that the 1st Circuit defined the doctrine as one allowing "damages for otherwise time-barred allegations if they are deemed part of an ongoing series of discriminatory acts and there is some violation within the statute of limitations period that anchors the earlier claims."
2004), in which the court held that payments to a marketing firm which distributed advertisement brochures of the home health service provider to physicians did not fall within the statute because they were not payments made to the relevant decisionmaker as a kickback for sending patients to the service provide George also asserts that there was insufficient evidence that she acted knowingly and willfully under the statute, but this claim cannot withstand scrutiny.
If, however, the executor files an amended Form 8971 within the statute of limitations, the beneficiary will have a basis equal to the property value reported on Form 8971.

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