10 Crimes Everyone Commits Without Realizing They Are Illegal

Lists, Other, Shocking

The vast majority of people try to live their lives without committing any crimes, instead choosing to obey the laws. Often this is done because an understanding of the basics of what is right and wrong in addition to knowing that living within a lawful society brings peace for the entire community. While many will have fallen foul of petty laws such as parking offences or illegally downloading a song, most will probably believe they have not committed any serious crimes. That may not be the case though. There are hundreds of laws that most people don’t know about, while some countries may have peculiar laws that are easy to misinterpret. These are just some examples of laws that everyone might have broken without even realizing they are doing anything wrong.

Unlocking Your Cell Phone

Before 2015, laws in the United States prohibited people from unlocking their cell phones so that they could be used on a different carrier. So anyone who did this was actually committing a crime and could be punished with a fine for doing so. Fortunately the law was altered in 2015 so that people could unlock their phones and compel carriers to do so after their contract had ended.

Knocking On People’s Doors

Anyone who ever knocked on a person’s door and then ran away as a child as part of a game was actually breaking a law that dates back to 1839. This act of Parliament in the UK banned it under an order to stop people “‘wantonly disturbing’ persons by ringing doorbells, knocking on doors or unlawfully extinguishing lamps”.

Using Someone Else’s Wi-Fi

It’s something that plenty of people have done while needing to get an internet connection so that they can check their Facebook status, but logging onto to someone else’s Wi-Fi without getting permission first is classed as a crime in many parts of the world. Several countries and states in the United States class the act as theft and anyone caught doing it could face prison time.

Having A Permanent Marker In Public

There are a variety of US states that have laws designed to prevent vandalism and graffiti, though they often ban people from having innocent objects on them such as permanent markers. That means any student or teacher on their way to class with markers and sticky notes in their bags may be breaking the law and could be charged for graffiti- based crime.

Sharing Netflix Passwords

Although many millions of people have their own Netflix accounts, it is common practice for people to share their passwords and login information with friends and family members so they can catch up on a show or television series. In certain states around the United States though this is seen as the same as splitting cable television into multiple households and breaking the law carries a fine of $2,500.

Filling Up The Gas Tank

Residents of Oregon and New Jersey are prohibited by law from filling up their own gas tank of their vehicles. This means that every single gas station is fully serviced by staff, stopping drivers from getting out of their cars. The law was created so that elderly or disabled people could still get gas easily and due to safety hazards specific to gas stations.


If you have ever included quotes in an article or essay without attributing them to their proper source or even posted copyright photographs and pictures online without permission, you are technically breaking copyright law. This could mean you could be dragged in front of a court and fined.

Online Gambling

According to a research paper from the Fordham University School of Law that was looking at the legality of online gambling, the vast majority of people placing bets online or taking part in fantasy football teams in the US are actually breaking the law. Only a handful of locations have actually passed laws to make online gambling legal and in other parts of the country people are actually carrying out criminal acts.

Using Fake Information On Websites

Despite the fact that many people use fake information when signing up for websites and social media services, you could actually be breaking the law by doing so. Several people have been charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for setting up fake profiles on the likes of Facebook and MySpace, as the act prohibits accessing websites in an unauthorized manner, which could be interpreted as using false information to access any website.

Getting Drunk In Public

Many countries around the world have specific laws targeting people who are drunk in public places. This can even include locations such as bars and clubs, where the patrons are sort of expected to drink alcohol. Overindulging though can be seen as a crime in a variety of places, such as Alaska, and could see you fined or spend a few days in jail.