Web of Laws Puts Americans at Risk of Arrest, Imprisonment

You break laws every day


MADISON — You are probably a criminal.

You just may not know it.

With some 4,500 federal crimes on the books and, by conservative estimates, more than 300,000 regulations that carry a criminal penalty, law experts say the chances of an average American unwittingly committing a federal crime in his lifetime are pretty good.

Harvey Silverglate, author, lawyer and civil liberties advocate, asserts in his bombshell book, "Three Felonies a Day," that average citizens routinely break federal law without any knowledge they are committing a crime.

"Given the enormity of the code, it is no wonder that the Ninth Circuit's Chief Judge, Alex Kozinski, believes 'You're (Probably) a Federal Criminal,'" notes the Federalist Society in a policy study titled, "The Explosion of the Criminal Law and Its Cost to Individuals, Economic Opportunity, and Society."