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7 Ways You May Be Breaking the Law Without Knowing It

7 Ways You May Be Breaking The Law Without Knowing-1

From logging onto public Wi-Fi to sitting on the sidewalk, seemingly innocent actions can sometimes land us in hot water. Here are seven ways you might unknowingly be breaking the law.

1. Stealing Wi-Fi

While connecting to free Wi-Fi might seem harmless, it could potentially violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Even low-level Wi-Fi theft could result in legal consequences, as demonstrated by a Michigan man who was fined and sentenced to community service for piggybacking on a café's Internet without authorization in 2007.


2. Drinking and Walking

Being intoxicated isn't just a concern for people operating a vehicle — pedestrians can also find themselves in trouble for public intoxication. Laws vary by state, but being visibly intoxicated in public could lead to fines or even arrest, regardless of whether you're behind the wheel.

3. Spitting

In some states and cities, spitting in public is prohibited to prevent the spread of disease. While the intention is public health, the act itself is often considered unsanitary and disrespectful.


4. Using a Fake Name Online

Creating a fake identity online might seem like a smart move for privacy, but it could violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if you're not authorized to use the platform under false pretenses. Even setting up a fake social media profile can lead to legal repercussions.

5. Sitting on the Sidewalk

Waiting for a friend or a bus might tempt you to sit on the sidewalk, but in some cities, this could be against the law. Over half of American cities have regulations against sitting or lying down in public spaces, aiming to address concerns about loitering.


6. Sharing Your Password

While sharing your Netflix password with friends might seem generous, it could technically violate the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. A 2016 ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals highlighted the legal implications of password sharing, even among friends and family.

7. Throwing Away an Old Cell Phone

Disposing of old electronics like cell phones improperly could be illegal in certain states. Laws aimed at reducing electronic waste and preventing toxins from entering landfills make it necessary to research proper disposal methods to avoid fines and legal penalties.


Navigating the legal landscape can be tricky, especially when seemingly harmless actions could have serious consequences. By staying informed and mindful of the laws and regulations in your area, you can ensure that you're on the right side of the law, even in everyday situations you might not have considered before.

Reference: 12 Everyday Things You Didn't Know Were Illegal | Michigan man who was fined and sentenced

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