Monday, February 14, 2005

Legal Research Tip 12: Postal Crimes

Welcome to the next issue of the DCLRC E-Newsletter "Legal Research Tips"! You can view back issues of these tips through other posts in this blawg. Enjoy!

This tip comes courtesy of the San Diego County Public Law Library:

Q: I live with several roommates. One of them is opening my mail. Is that a crime?

A: Yes. Not only is that a crime, it's a federal crime! There are several federal laws relating to tampering with mail, most of which provide for punishment by fine or imprisonment or both. The laws regarding mail crimes are found in Title 18 of the US Code, starting with 18 USC 1691. Section 1702 specifically says it is a crime to steal someone's mail and section 1703 says it is illegal to open or destroy anyone's mail or packages. The USPS has issued a booklet that discusses mail theft, fraud, and other postal crimes (go to and look for publication 146)