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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4779
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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A family member is at my house when FedEx delivers a packeage

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A family member is at my house when FedEx delivers a packeage addressed soley to me and opens and examines and takes the packing slip and receipt. Is this illegal and can I press charges?

TexLawyer :

Good evening. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexLawyer :

Did this person steal the contents of the package, or just open it?

Customer:

She opened it and took the packing slip and receipt

TexLawyer :

For what purpose? What did she do with the contents?

TexLawyer :

I ask because, contrary to popular belief, there is no federal crime for opening another person's mail. There is a crime for opening mail in the possession of the Postal Service, but once it is delivered it is not a crime for someone else to open it. Many people believe it is a crime to open someone else's mail after it's been delivered, but that just urban legend.

Customer:

My wife and I are going through a divorce. She was at my house when FedEx delivered me some surveillance equipment. She opened the box, scattered the contents all over the counter, and wrote BUSTED on the outside of the box. She took the packing slip and receipt from the inside to use as evidence that I was buying surveillance equipment ( to protect myself against her)

TexLawyer :

I see.

Customer:

I was told that I might could use this against her

TexLawyer :

What she did is not a crime. In theory, the packing slip was your property, as it was part of the item you purchased, but the odds of you getting the police to involve themselves in the theft of a packing slip are very slim.

TexLawyer :

You may be able to use the fact that she invaded your privacy against her in the court proceedings, but she did not violate any criminal statutes.

Customer:

I was hoping that the crime was in opening it in the first place

TexLawyer :

Unfortunately, no. Here is the statute most people get confused: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1702

Customer:

Oh ok. Thank you.

TexLawyer :

As you can see, it only makes it a crime to open or take mail out of the possession of the postal service. So, something that's already delivered won't cut it.

TexLawyer :

Sorry for the bad news, but I can only give you an honest evaluation of the law and your situation.

TexLawyer :

I wish I had the answer you were looking for.

Customer:

I understand and that is exactly what I needed so thank you very much

TexLawyer :

Glad to help.

TexLawyer :

Can I do anything else for you?

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