“Porch pirating” is a crime New York City frequently faces, especially during the holiday seasons. In porch pirating cases, packages are stolen from mailboxes or people’s porches. Many of those who partake in this theft don’t realize just how much trouble they could be in if they’re caught.

FindLaw shows that it’s actually a federal crime to steal mail, making it a felony. You may think this just applies to letters or the things left in mailboxes, but it actually extends to anything that comes through the mail. This means letters, but it also means any packages deposited on front porches.

What does it mean for you, if you’re facing a federal crime charge? Simply put, you’ll be dealing with a lot of heavy consequences if you’re convicted. These can include:

  • Fines
  • Time in jail
  • Loss of ability to vote
  • Loss of ability to hold public office

The jail time and potential fines could differ from case to case. It may also be dependent upon how many boxes you’re being accused of taking, or the estimated value of those boxes. A common misconception is that package theft is the same as any other petty theft crime, but that simply isn’t true. Rather than dealing with small fines, you could actually be sent to jail.

Because of the penalties associated with it, being accused of package theft is not a claim to take lightly. You may wish to consult a legal expert to see what your options are, as a conviction could easily impact your life for years to come.