Is It Illegal to Throw Away Someone Else’s Mail?

The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University reveals that throwing away someone else’s mail is illegal and violates a federal statute. The statute is referred to 18 U.S. Code 1702, known as “Obstruction of Correspondence.”

The Legal Information Institute’s record of the code shows that if a person mishandles a letter or postcard not belonging to him, and this mail has been previously in the hands of a U.S. Postal Service employee or office, the person mishandling the mail is subject to fines or imprisonment. The statute mandates that people are not permitted to open or destroy mail that does not belong to them. Those who are found in violation of the statute face prison time up to five years and are subject to fines as well.