Negligence Per Se For Dummies

You may be able to name every character off of Cheech and Chong, you may also be able to recite every line of Pineapple Express. However, what may be more important for you to know if you wish to stay out of prison is the meaning of "Per Se." We hear it everyday in our casual conversations. "I mean Lydsey Lohan is attractive Per Se, but compared to Jessica Alba - no comparison" this use of Per Se however is quite different in the courtroom.

The Latin meaning of Per Se is "in itself." However our legal system in true P-Diddy fashion has decided to remix a classic. In our "modern" legal system Per Se is used in court when evidence is being reviewed and analyzed in determining whether a defendant stands guilty or not guilty.

In a Tort (civil) case a prosecutor may use Negligence Per Se in determining whether a defendant is guilty of a tortious act. Negligence per se is the legal doctrine whereby an act is considered negligent because it violates a statute (or regulation). In order to prove negligence per se, the plaintiff must show the following.

First, Whether the Defendant violated a statute. Did the defendant smoke marijuana without a prescription or did they do their best Lindsey Lohan impersonation and drive while intoxicated? (An act made illegal under statute.)

Secondly, Does the statute provide for a criminal penalty like a monetary fine or community service? Are you required to join the chain gang flash mob on Saturday morning if the crime is committed?

If so, we look next as to whether you committed a crime the statute was intended to protect against and whether the plaintiff was the type of citizen the statute was meant to protect. In other words, did you watch Tim Tebow come back on your favorite team, pound an 18 pack and go for a drive? (Commit a crime such as DUI that a statute was meant to protect against) Then, did you hit Grandma Jennie on her way home from Christmas shopping for her 10 kids? (A citizen the statute was meant to protect.)

If so, all the elements of Negligence Per Se have been met and without legal protection or an exprienced criminal defense attorney you may be facing possible jail time.

If you are facing drunk driving charges in Reno or criminal charges, contact the Reno criminal defense attorneys at Joey Gilbert Law to discuss your rights. Call (775) 574-4774 today for a free confidential consultation. Se Habla Español.


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