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18 U.S. Code § 1705 - Destruction of letter boxes or mail

Whoever willfully or maliciously injures, tears down or destroys any letter box or other receptacle intended or used for the receipt or delivery of mail on any mail route, or breaks open the same or willfully or maliciously injures, defaces or destroys any mail deposited therein, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Historical and Revision Notes
1948 Act

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., § 321 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, § 198, 35 Stat. 1126; May 18, 1916, ch. 126, § 10, 39 Stat. 162; July 28, 1916, ch. 261, § 1, 39 Stat. 418; May 7, 1934, ch. 220, § 1, 48 Stat. 667).

Words “or shall willfully take or steal such mail from or out of such letter box or other receptacle” were omitted as covered by section 1702 of this title. Prosecutions for theft of mail matter are invariably made under that section whereas this section is used as basis for prosecutions for malicious mischief to mail boxes or receptacles. By Postal Regulations (1928), section 700, paragraph 2, an ordinary letter box is within this section and also section 1702 of this title. Huebner v. United States (C.C.A. 1928, 28 F. 2d 929).

Reference to persons assisting or aiding was omitted. Such persons are principals under definitive section 2 of this title.

Minor changes were made in phraseology.

1949 Act

As amended by this section [section 38] of the bill, section 1705 of title 18, U.S.C., is brought more closely into conformity with the original statute from which it was derived by eliminating an inadvertent reference to a “conveyance” which was not in the original statute. (See S. Rept. No. 133, 81st Cong.)

Editorial Notes

2002—Pub. L. 107–273 inserted “, or both” after “years”.

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $1,000”.

1949—Act May 24, 1949, struck out reference to a “conveyance” which was not in original statute.