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Penalties could increase for going even slightly ‘postal’

Going even slightly ‘postal’ on the property of the U.S. Postal Service can now cost you more than the traditional maximum fine of $50, beginning today.

The postal service has issued a new rule, effective January 27, which says that anyone who violates a long lists of do’s and don’ts on postal property, as spelled out in the Code of Federal Regulations, is subject to a maximum penalty of “not more than that allowed under Title 18 of the United States Code” -- rather than a measly $50 -- or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both.

The long-standing rules prohibit such behavior on post office property as disturbances, gambling, drinking alcoholic beverages, drugs or smoking, taking dogs inside, carrying weapons and explosives, posting handbills, etc.

“The current regulations have not been changed for over 30 years,” says the postal service’s final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on January 27. “The current maximum fine does not reflect either the seriousness of some of the infractions, nor the effect that inflation has had over the past 30 years.”

Changing the allowable fine from a maximum of $50 to whatever Title 18 of the U.S. Code allows for a particular infraction will give federal judges more “flexibility” in determining the appropriate penalties, said the postal service notice.



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