The first time my son got into some legal trouble, I didn't hire an attorney. I figured that he would just get a slap on the wrist and that he should accept his punishment, and that's what happened. The second time he got into trouble, I had to hire an attorney. I knew that since he had a record, the judge would not be so lenient about his punishment and he could suffer some serious consequences that could haunt him for his entire life. If you have a troubled child, my blog could help you understand the value of hiring an attorney for him or her.
If you receive someone's mail, you now have the legal responsibility to make sure that you do not prevent the mail from arriving to its intended recipient. There are several ways to avoid prosecution. However, if you do destroy someone's mail, you will need a criminal defense attorney who can help you craft a defense.
Accidentally Opening A Letter
You may open the letter accidentally believing that it is addressed to you. However, if you immediately close the letter, write "return to sender" and place the mail inside the nearest mailbox, you will not have committed a crime because you will not have prevented the mail from reaching it's intended recipient. Promptly sending the letter will suggest that you did not intend to open it.
Destroying A Letter
Throwing away a letter that was addressed to someone else is considered to be a crime. If the letter is junk mail, it is unlikely that you will be tracked down and prosecuted. However, throwing away more important mail might lead to you being prosecuted. If the individual whom the letter was addressed to discovers that you destroyed his or her mail, that individual might contact the postal inspector general. Then, the postal inspector general will determine if your actions are severe enough to prioritize an investigation into the matter.
Preventing Mail Intended For Someone Else
If you have recently moved into a new apartment, you may receive mail that is intended for the previous tenant. Check your mailbox to make sure that it has been updated to include your name. If not, be sure to request this change so you will be less likely to receive mail not addressed to you.
Another way to reduce the odds of you receiving the wrong mail is to write a formal complaint to the post-master. This will increase the odds that the mailman will be informed not to send the letter to you.
When you know the new address of the individual who has sent you mail, you can choose to forward the mail to him or her. Cross out the original address. Then, write the new address next to it. Write "forward to." Place the mail inside a nearby mailbox.
Constructing A Criminal Defense
If you are accused of illegally destroying mail, you will want to contact a criminal defense attorney. He or she will investigate the situation and will then craft a defense that can be used to prove that you did not intentionally destroy the mail or even cast doubt on whether you were the one who destroyed the mail in the first place.