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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30367
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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Is it illegal in maryland to interfere or receive someone elses

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Is it illegal in maryland to interfere or receive someone else's mail, esp. mail from courts?

Is there a corresponding law in maryland like the US law?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

It's a violation of Federal law to interfere with or receive someone else's mail. 18 U.S.C. 1701. It's a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment. If the person acts with intent to prevent the correspondence from being received by the intended recipient, it's a felony. 18 U.S.C. 1702.

The U.S. Attorney in Maryland could prosecute this case, as they could prosecute any other federal crime. It is not necessary to have any state statutes, because the mail service is regulated by the federal government, and federal law supersedes state law any time there is a conflict. Mail theft is reported to, and investigated by, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and prosecuted federally.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am looking for Maryalnd law, not US law. Kindly inform me if Maryland has any laws that are similar to the US law 18 U.S.C. 1702 becasue my case is pending in a state court.


I am looking for any civil penalties provided in Maryland law when someone interferes (or receives) and/or opens postal mail that is meant and addressed for someone else.

It is illegal in every state to interfere with someone else's mail. Federal law applies in every state. The case would be prosecuted in Maryland, and the person could be fined up to $250,000 and put in jail for up to five years.

Since Congress has exclusive authority to govern the mail service, it would be unnecessary and duplicative for each state to pass laws that say exactly what federal law says - and they're not allowed to pass a law that says something different. Maryland does not have a specific statute, because there is no need. These cases are brought by the federal government. That doesn't mean that a person in Maryland is allowed to interfere with the mail because there isn't a state law specifically on point. If a person reports mail theft to the state, they will be referred to the federal government, who will investigate and prosecute.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

so are you saying that althought Maryland does not have to have a law thats similar to teh Us law, I can not file a civil case and the only way for me if complain to the federal prosecutor?

Interfering with the mail is a crime. It doesn't give the person affected a civil cause of action against the person who took the mail.

In order to sue, you would have to come up with some other cause of action that it fit into. If someone took your mail, with the intent to keep it from you, that's conversion, which is the civil equivalent of theft. Typically, damages are based on the value of the item taken, and mail is valued based on what it would be worth on the open market. However, because theft is an intentional tort, the judge can also consider the wrongfulness of the conduct and can assess punitive damages. So, for example, if I steal your mail, and I know you'll have to pay $1,000 because I did that, you could sue me in civil court for $1,000 (and the judge could award you additional damages).

With that said, if this is something that happened in an existing civil lawsuit, usually, what would happen is that the party affected would file a Motion to Vacate an adverse ruling (such as an adverse ruling) on the basis that the other party wrongfully prevented the party from being able to do whatever it is that the person was supposed to do, and then ask the judge to impose sanctions on the person. That could be done in the same court that the case is already in. Sanctions often take monetary form.

But neither suing nor addressing the civil aspects in state court would prevent a person from filing a report of the federal crime that occurred. A person can seek both civil and criminal remedies.

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