Let’s take this outside
Say you’re a diehard Patriots fan and I’m a rabid Seahawks fan, and we’re sitting in a bar in downtown Vancouver watching the Super Bowl.
After a few beers, things get a little testy when we get to talking about “Deflategate,” the recent scandal of the 11 underinflated footballs used in the Patriots’ crucial smothering of the Indianapolis Colts last weekend. So, you ask if I want to take it outside and settle this with a fist fight, and I say, “Sure, bring it on!”
Turns out we may be acting within legal bounds, due to a critical loophole in Vancouver’s criminal code. The city’s criminal code – Title 7 of the Vancouver Municipal Code – was adopted 12 years ago, and since then, officials have discovered a number of ambiguities and loopholes that could allow you to get away with some pretty strange things.
This winter, the city council is considering three new ordinances that would close a few key loopholes and charge violators with misdemeanors. One would prohibit disorderly conduct by mutual combat, even if both parties agree to the fight.
Another ordinance would prohibit anyone from breaking into a vehicle “without invitation or legal authority.” Whether you intend to commit a crime in there would be irrelevant, though an exception could be made for breaking into your own car if you lock the keys inside.
The third ordinance would bar drivers from leaving the scene of an accident after hitting a pedestrian or a bicyclist, regardless of whether anyone appears to be injured. That driver would be required to stay and exchange information – name, vehicle description, insurance information, etc – before taking off.
On top of the three ordinances, the city may also scrap its provision on criminal trespass and destruction of property, Chapter 8.18 of the municipal code. The provision took effect in 1977, and some see it as outdated here in 2015.
The issue of the loopholes briefly came up earlier this month during a short presentation at a city council workshop. And the proposed ordinances are slated for consideration next month, with a public hearing scheduled for Feb. 23.