The Crime of Unlawful Mailing and Suspicious Packages

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyer,Anyone that has ever been to the post office to mail a package is familiar with the questions postal workers ask. One of those is whether or not the package contains anything that is flammable, toxic, or otherwise potentially dangerous. Most people immediately say the package does not contain any of those contents. Truthfully, most cannot even remember what the postal worker said. However, listening to this question and responding truthfully is important. If you do mail any of those prohibited items, even by mistake, you can be charged with a federal offense.

What Is Unlawful Mailing and Suspicious Packages?

The offense of unlawful mailing and suspicious packages is covered under 39 U.S.C. Section 3001. This lengthy statute outlines a laundry list of offenses pertaining to sending mail through the United States Postal Services (USPS).

When a person is suspected of committing one of the offenses stated in the statute, an investigation is conducted. This investigation typically includes the USPS and their branch of law enforcement, the United States Postal Inspection Service. In certain cases, the Department of Justice (DOJ) may also get involved.

If a person is found guilty of unlawful mailing and suspicious package, they may face both civil and criminal penalties. Depending on the circumstances of the offense and which agency is investigating the crime, charges of mail fraud may also apply.

Potential Violations Under 39 U.S.C. Section 3001

The statute is very broad in scope and outlines many different offenses a person may be charged with when preparing mail, sending mail, and even receiving mail. These most common offenses in the statute include:

  • Mail that looks like it was sent by the government, but was not
  • Sending mail pertaining to an illegal sweepstakes, lottery, or contest
  • Fraudulent mail-order schemes or sending mail with the intent to fraudulently solicit payments for a product or serve that was falsely advertised
  • Fraudulent solicitations, such as advertisements that look like an invoice
  • Sending hazardous material through the mail such as explosives, radioactive material, or compressed gas

Being investigated for any of these crimes is frightening. It becomes more so once a person has been charged with an actual crime. Although it is a scary situation, it is important for those accused to remember that there are defenses available.

Defenses to Unlawful Mailing Allegations

There are three main defenses used in cases involving allegations of unlawful mailing.

The first is innocence. If a person did not send unlawful mailing material, they or their attorney can collect evidence to support that argument. Likewise, if the prosecution does not have enough evidence to convict, that can also be used as a defense. While the prosecution will likely present what they believe to be strong evidence, a defense attorney can refute it and show why it should not be admitted.

Lastly, everyone in the country, including those under investigation, have certain rights. If the prosecution or law enforcement violated those rights during the investigation, a defense attorney can ask for the case to be dismissed. For example, if law enforcement conducted an illegal search and seizure of a person’s home and found additional mailing packages with the same materials inside, that could not be admitted as evidence.

Been Charged with a Mail Crime? Speak to a Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

While investigations of unlawful mailing offenses sometimes target individuals, many times it is businesses that are charged with this offense. If you or your business has been accused, call an attorney immediately.

At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we know how eagerly the prosecution pursues these types of cases. We also know that due to this, their investigations are not always lawful, nor do they always target the right people. We will always be on your side as we help you retain your freedom. Call us today at 312-270-0999 for your free consultation with a dedicated Chicago criminal defense attorney to hear more about how we can assist with your case.

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/39/3001

https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manual-940-18-usc-section-1341-elements-mail-fraud

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