We’ve probably all broken the law at some point in our lives. Even the people that proudly called themselves law-abiding citizens may have accidentally driven through a red light or not so accidentally stolen candy as a child.
It’s thought about 1 in 3 Americans have some kind of police record, and the figure is about the same in the UK.
Research shows that in the USA, about 70% of the population have done something that could have landed them in jail.
That’s a fairly realistic statistic considering that the substance abuse in mental health services’ administration says that around half of the population admit to having taken illicit substances.
What you might not know though, is you have probably broken the law on occasion and are not even aware you did.
Today we are going to explore the small crimes in this article:
Illegal Things That We Do Every Day.
One thing many of us do is watch our favourite shows and movies on streaming websites that haven’t paid for the right to show that content. While some of those look legal, according to the UK federation against copyright theft, for fact, they are unlawful.
This is because they don’t have permission to provide that content from the people that own it.
As a viewer, facts say that you are committing unlawful behaviour by supporting the criminals.
IS it illegal in the USA?
According to the Intellectual Property Institute at the University of Richmond Law School, yes it is. Uploading unlicensed content is also illegal.
Right now people are not prosecuted for watching or uploading, so you are safe to watch something like Game of Thrones online.
Downloading stolen content has always been illegal but streaming seems to be a bit of a grey area.
Nonetheless, this might soon change. An EU court in 2017 made what was called a landmark ruling that essentially stated that anyone watching copied content streamed is committing a civil offence.
According to torrentfreak, about half of all American millennials watch illegal content streams.
Staying with technology and the internet, have you ever used a fake name for an account?
Apparently your nom de plume of immajerk66
is actually committing a crime according to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
In 2010, a prison guard in the US was fined 500 bucks for using a fake Facebook name -.- While in the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service is cracking down on fake social media profiles. It’s not that governments want to arrest people making fun fake names, but they ‘re more worried about online harassment and the spread of false information by people they cannot trace.
One more thing:
If you’ve ever jumped onto someone else’s wifi and used the internet without their permission, you’ve also broken the law.
There are probably a lot of law-abiding citizens out there now aware that they are chronic law-breakers.
But the next one will get just about everyone.
The song “Happy Birthday” is not yours to sing in public although it is okay in the house.
The song was copyrighted in the 80s by Time Warner for $25 million so you don’t have permission to do a public rendition of it.
Do so, and you could be fined a hefty sum of money.
That’s why you’ll hardly ever see it performed in movies. It is sometimes used, and that’s why Time Warner receives about $2 million a year
in Happy Birthday royalties.
Have you ever made a cash bet with friends?
Well, having a wager with friends is technically
illegal under the Illegal Gambling Act of 1970.
This is in the USA, at least.
But it all depends on how much chance is involved in the gambling and the amount of money.
If the entire amount is more than $2000, you are in fact running an illegal gambling operation. This is quite common in places of work, where many participants take part in inter-office sports gambling, especially after the boost in popularity of Fantasy Sports Games.
According to online gambling site laserwager, 27% of Americans take part in such gambling and if you are not living in Nevada, you are actually risking a stint in prison.
And what if you won the Fantasy Football Pool at work and celebrated with one too many drinks and proceeded to wobble home?
Well, that could be illegal too, even if you were just happily minding your own business. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get arrested, in many countries public intoxication is illegal.
And In the USA, this is so, but if you live in the states of Nevada, Montana, or Missouri, you’ll be fined as no public intoxication laws exist there.
In Texas, you don’t want to get caught drunk on the streets, as it’s a class C misdemeanour.
In the Uk, it’s also an offence to be drunk in public and you could risk a fine if very drunk.
Australia has such laws too, but you are more likely to get escorted home than you are fined if you are not causing trouble, as Australian cops apparently take the humane approach. When you get home late, whatever you do, don’t start vacuuming the house.
In the UK, it’s actually illegal to use a vacuum cleaner after 6pm and before 8am on weekdays, and illegal before 8am and after 1pm on weekends.
The Australians are a little more lax, at least in Melbourne, where you are not allowed to use your vacuum cleaner between 10pm and 7am during weekdays and between 10pm and 9am during the weekends.
No such law seems to exist in the USA, but in Denver, it’s actually illegal to lend someone your vacuum cleaner.
According to a law website, if you have noisy neighbours, you have every right to sue them. You may have to prove that the noise reaches a certain amount of decibels, but if you can, you can expect about 30 bucks for each day you were a victim of their loudness. In this case, if you’ve ever been loud at night and have neighbours, you may have committed an offence.
According to research, the Brits consider themselves to be a very law-abiding nation with 98% of people saying they don’t break laws.
Well, other research says they break on average 5 rules every week, or 16,250 a lifetime.
These may be just small breaches, but nonetheless they are laws.
Some of the most common offences are dropping cigarette buds on the floor and spitting out chewing gum in public places.
Singapore was said to have made chewing gum illegal, which isn’t actually true.
However, it does have quite strict gum control
which means that the sale or importation of gum is illegal today in the country.
Spitting gum on the floor will also get you in big trouble in clean Dubai and also in Thailand where policemen have preyed on tourists who commit the act of cigarette or gum dropping in public areas. In most countries, littering is illegal and it doesn’t have to be a lot of litter. It’s illegal in the USA, but Alabama, Michigan, parts of Florida, Ohio and California, just spitting on the floor could end with a fine.
In 2013 in England, a man was fined for spitting which was the very first time the court had charged someone with such an offence.
Staying with the Brits, according to some media on the subject of braving laws, the most common offence in the country is walking across a crosswalk when the little green man is not flashing.
33% of Brits have apparently done this.
A similar street crime in the USA is jaywalking, which means pretty much the same, but walking anywhere on the street unlawfully.
As some scary viral videos demonstrate, this could even ignite the anger of the police.
You might also get an on-the-spot jaywalking fine in Germany, Singapore, Spain, Poland, Slovenia and Australia.
The Dutch legalised jaywalking in 1997, and has since reported absolutely no negative effects.
In many nations such as Japan, Hungary, Thailand, China and Indonesia, putting your trust in the green man could be disastrous
as crosswalks are often ignored by drivers.
Speaking of drivers, the most broken law in the USA that people actually get charged for is speeding. It’s thought about 100 thousand people get a speeding ticket every day.
But after reading this article, speeding might not be the most common offence.
Has anyone out there not committed any of the offences above?
Better still, has anyone ever been charged for one of these offenses, or know someone who has? Let us know in the comments.
Also be sure to check out: Illegal Things That You Do Everyday