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2 Bumps

Is it legal for the USPS to open my mail?

I received a gift card in the mail and when I looked at the envelope it had been opened and then taped shut. It has a stamp on it that states, "Opened and inspected by USPS BMEU TECH."

Is that legal?

I understand WHY they do that stuff IF they are allowed to (people sending Anthrax and such through the mail).... but I thought it was illegal for ANYONE to open another person's mail?

**Couldn't find a good category to place this in. :( **


Asked by Memigen at 9:10 AM on Oct. 25, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 27 (30,799 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • It depends on the class of shipping you used. First class mail cannot be opened without a federal warrant, period. Warrants are difficult to get. In this instance, if the postal employee thinks there is something illegal in the envelope, they will allow the recipient to take possession and alert local authorities.
    Other classes, like bulk and media, don't have these restrictions. You're use of that shipping class constitutes a consent to search. Either the sender or recipient can give consent.

    Answer by Jenny-talia at 9:30 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • If it's first class mail and they have probable cause...THEY HAVE TO GET A WARRANT. The 4th Amendment protects your person and papers from search and seizure. Personal correspondance is sent first class mail, so there must be a proven reason to violate someone's rights under the 4th Amendment. It's proven by obtaining a warrant.
    I'm so sick of this attitude that you don't have a right to privacy.

    Answer by Jenny-talia at 9:52 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • If they have a reason to believe there is something illegal in there, they certainly can open your mail. They do it all the time, and sometimes they DO find things that should not be int he mail.

    Answer by samurai_chica at 9:15 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • It probably is legal or they would not have informed you that they did it.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 9:18 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • Yes, it is legal

    Answer by elizabr at 9:20 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • I thought it was illegal for anyone other than the receiver to open mail.

    Answer by Shanna84 at 9:14 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • As far as I know it is illegal to open any other persons mail.

    Answer by older at 9:24 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • I think they hae probable cause. But, really, if they did, how would you know? IF they get something and you havent received it, how would you know?

    Answer by CCMami at 9:24 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • If they feel there might be something suspicious in the mail - postal inspectors can open your mail.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 9:24 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

  • It's legal if it wasn't sent first class or Express. Those are the only two classes protected against search. If you got the card from the vendor, it could have been sent using any number of other shipping rates, which do not have the same protections.

    Answer by Jenny-talia at 9:37 AM on Oct. 25, 2010

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