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I had received mail at my place of business that was addressed to me in c/o the business. It was a hand-written thank you note from a private address and looked nothing like business mail. My boss opened it. Was she legally entitled to do so? Response: Unfortunately, yes, since the mail was sent to the business. Also and more importantly, she did not break any postal regulations since the mail was delivered to the business. It is only a crime for instance if she had taken the mail from the custody of the mail carrier before the mail was delivered to the business thereby preventing you from seeing the mail in the first place. There is a misconception that opening a letter addressed to someone else is illegal, this is not actually true so long as the mail was opened after it has been delivered by the mail carrier. Nevertheless, if someone opens a letter addressed to someone else and steals the contents of the letter such as jewelries, then the person may be charged with stealing in accordance with federal or state law. See 18 U.S.C. Part 1 Chapter 83 Sections 1702 and 1705
Sec. 1702. Obstruction of correspondence
Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post
office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any
letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or
authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail
carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was
directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry
into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes,
embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or
imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Sec. 1705. Destruction of letter boxes or mail
Whoever willfully or maliciously injures, tears down or destroys
any letter box or other receptacle intended or used for the receipt
or delivery of mail on any mail route, or breaks open the same or
willfully or maliciously injures, defaces or destroys any mail
deposited therein, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
not more than three years, or both.
But, it statute 1702, it says it's criminal, right?
But, it statute 1702, it says it's criminal, right? Response: Yes, that is right, if the mail was interfered with BEFORE it was delivered.
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