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Roxanne, I think the specific words of the statute are that you cannot tamper with the mail that belongs to someone else. I don't think it says you cannot open the mailbox and get your own mail. A prompt change of address with the post office sure sounds like a good idea for you, though.

If you are living in someone else's residence and receive your email there, can they turn around and have you arrested for tampering with the mail when you retrieve your mail from the mailbox? My roommate kicked me out of her apartment, then said she filed charges against me for tampering with the mail because I had retrieved my mail from the mailbox while living there.

Title 18 U.S.C. § 1702 Obstruction of Correspondence states:

“Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes, embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

Is it considered mail tampering if mail (mail intended for and addressed to you) was sent to an address other than your own and the person living at that address failed to notify you of the mail or got rid of the mail (resulting in an impounded vehicle being sold)?

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