Do you write legal suspense or romantic suspense thrillers that demand authenticity? Do you struggle to locate law-related resources specific to your state or the state in which your hero/heroine resides? Well, I’m here to help.
Each Saturday, I’ll post a quick list of state-specific reference materials for you – the lay writer or author striving for accuracy and realism in the legal context. I’ll pinpoint resources that are helpful, practical and accessible to those with limited exposure to the intricacies of the statutory and common (case) law systems operating in the United States. For obvious reasons, we’ll place special emphasis upon criminal law for the next year or so. Let’s begin with the state of Alabama.
- If you’re looking for general, state-specific materials (i.e., about a state’s constitution, its statutory law, its common/case law resources, its court system, etc.), look no further than Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute. (And, no, I’m not pointing you there simply because I spent my undergraduate years at the university.) It’s actually one of the most comprehensive legal resources on the net. (The fact that I’m a died-in-the-wool Cornellian is a mere coincidence. Riiiight.).
- If you’re curious about crime-specific laws for the State of Alabama, visit the state’s Code of Alabama 1975 website. You can click the “Search” button if you’re looking for information about a specific word or phrase, or you can click “View” to explore the various Titles under the Code. Word to the wise: You’ll find pertinent information about the state’s court system at Title 12, the Criminal Code at Title 13A, Criminal Correctional and Detention Facilities information at Title 14, and Criminal Procedure (i.e., what happens at court) at Title 15.
- Does your WIP include an Alabama character with limited financial resources facing dire legal consequences? Why not check out the wealth of information available at AlabamaLegalHelp.org? “This … guide to free and low-cost civil legal aid, assistance [and] services in Alabama” offers sources pertinent to topics as diverse as families and children, public benefits, consumer issues, housing, health law, elder law, the legal system and more.
- If you’re looking for a broader overview of Alabama law-related sites, why not visit the Law Library of Congress site? The LLOC offers information about the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of Alabama government as well as other highly valuable sources.
- Perhaps you simply want to pepper your prose with the flavor of the state known by nicknames as diverse as “The Yellowhammer State,” “The Cotton State,” and “The Heart of Dixie.” It certainly wouldn’t hurt to visit the websites of some of Christian fiction and non-fiction’s most well-known Alabamian authors. They include Renee Andrews , Melanie Dickerson, and Jo Huddleston.
So, how about you? What resources do you rely upon to ensure accuracy in your work? Leave a comment below. Blessings!
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Visitors to this Web site should not act upon any information found on this Web site without first seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not provide any warranties whatsoever with respect to any hyperlinks found on this Web site. The hyperlinks are offered as a service to my readers.