Crimes You May Have Committed Without Ever Knowing
You may have heard that ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Does this mean that most of us are criminals without even knowing it, and that when the police find out what we have done, before we even find out that we were not supposed to do it, then we are in big trouble? Usually not because most crimes have a statute of limitations, so if you took a lollipop from a convenience store when you were a child without realizing that you had to pay for it, you will not be charged with shoplifting now. Likewise, many crimes require intent, so writing incorrect information on your income tax return is not fraud if you genuinely believed that the information was true. Criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall frequently represent individuals being charged with a crime but who never intended to break the law.
Obstruction of Correspondence
Not only is opening or destroying someone else’s mail against the law, it is a federal felony known as obstruction of correspondence. If you knowingly prevent mail addressed to someone else from reaching its recipient, you can get criminal charges. It is not a crime to open someone else’s mail if the addressee instructed you to open it for them.
Yes, it is unfair that the more money you have, the more legal loopholes you can access to lower your tax burden. When accountants give you advice on how to reduce the taxes you pay or increase your tax burden, they should do it by identifying tax-deductible expenses, such as the costs of commuting to one work location to another or the percentage of your utility bills that supply electricity and Internet to your home office. Knowingly making false statements on an income tax return is against the law.
Online communications bring out the worst in almost everyone, but saying terrible things online that you would never have the courage to say to the addressee’s face can get you in serious legal trouble. Cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking are fourth-degree crimes in New Jersey, and the maximum penalty is $10,000 or 18 months in jail. The penalties are even more severe if the online harassment is against a former romantic partner or if you make specific threats.
Reckless driving is punishable by driver’s license suspension, monetary fines, and up to 60 days in jail. You can get charged with reckless driving if you drive 30 miles per hour or more above the speed limit, such as doing 55 mph in a 25-mph zone. Likewise, you can be charged with reckless driving if you drive more than 90 mph, even if the speed limit in the area is higher than 60 mph.