People routinely engage in activities that they know are criminal in nature. No one expects that they will be caught. Unfortunately if the behavior continues over time, eventually they do get caught. Following are 5 of the most common crimes we knowingly commit.
Possession of Marijuana
Millions of Americans knowingly break the law by smoking marijuana. Unless you have a prescription for marijuana, you can not legally smoke or be in possession of the banned substance. Possessing even a small amount of marijuana for personal use is a crime. First time offenders usually do not go to jail, but they may be issued a citation or forced to take a drug education class or do community service. If an individual has more than an ounce or two of marijuana, he or she may be charged with the more serious crime of possession with intent to distribute. Every state has its own drug laws and penalties. While the nation is split about 50/50 on whether or not marijuana should be legalized, currently it is illegal.
DWI or DUI
Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence is a very serious criminal offense. The consequences of being convicted of such a charge may include fines, suspension of your license, forfeiture of your vehicle, probation, community service or jail time. Every state has different criminal penalties. Every state takes the crime very seriously. People do not normally plan to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, but they do. They might be returning from a wedding where they had too much champagne or they might have taken some prescription medicine that impaired their ability to operate a motor vehicle. The law does not care why you were drunk or otherwise impaired. It is the responsibility and obligation of every driver to arrange another means of getting home if they know or think they might be impaired.
Every year when people file their tax returns the thought of exaggerating their deductions or not reporting all of their income enters their minds. Most tax filers are honest or scared about being audited and prepare and file an honest account of their income and tax liability. For those that are not so honest and fudge the figures, they may be guilty of tax fraud. Under Title 26, Section 7206 of the U.S. Tax Code, any person who knowingly files any return, statement or document that they know is not a true representation of all material matters is committing an act of fraud. If a person is audited and convicted of tax fraud they can face up to 3 years of imprisonment. They may also be fined up to $250,000 (individuals) or $500,000 (corporations). The penalties may be both fine and imprisonment and they are also held responsible for the cost of prosecution.
Insurance rates in this country are so high because so many cases of insurance fraud force the insurance companies to raise their rates to honest customers who may have never filed a claim in their lives. Insurance fraud is a sad commentary on the morality and honesty in our society. Millions of automobile accident claims are filed every year and insurance companies actually know that a high percentage of claims are not legitimate. People fake injuries and repair bills are padded. Homeowners who may suffer a loss also file larger claims than their loss would justify. In a tough economy, people look at accidents as a chance to get some much needed money. If an individual is convicted of insurance fraud they may go to jail, be placed on probation, be put on parole, forced to pay restitution, have to pay a fine or do community service.
People lie all of the time. If you lie under oath you can be found guilt of the crime of perjury. The penalties for perjury range from fines and probation to incarceration.