Illegal Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Illegal, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Illegal?

(adj) Illegal are the actions which are not in accordance with the rules, regulations, ordinance, law, statute etc prevailing the land at the time of doing such activity. Eg. Holding a weapon without sanction. All illegal actions need not be a criminal activity.

History and Meaning of Illegal

The term illegal is used to describe activities that do not comply with legal requirements, rules, or regulations. The word comes from the Latin word "illegālis," which means "not in accordance with the law." Illegal activities can range from minor violations to serious criminal offenses. The exact definition of illegal activities varies by country and jurisdiction, and in some cases, certain actions might be legal in one place yet considered illegal in another.

Examples of Illegal

Here are a few examples of activities that may be considered illegal:

  1. Speeding on the highway: When a person drives above the designated speed limit, they are breaking the law and engaging in an illegal activity.

  2. Selling drugs: The sale and distribution of illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, is a criminal offense in most countries.

  3. Tax evasion: Failing to pay taxes on time or provide accurate information on tax returns is an illegal activity and can result in fines or imprisonment.

  4. Copyright infringement: Using someone else's work without permission, whether it be music, text, or images, is illegal and can lead to legal action.

Legal Terms Similar to Illegal

Here are a few legal terms related to the concept of illegal:

  1. Criminal offense: A criminal offense is a serious violation of the law that can result in imprisonment, fines, or other legal penalties.

  2. Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a less serious crime, usually punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail.

  3. Felony: A felony is a serious crime that carries a sentence of more than one year in prison.

  4. Unlawful: Unlawful activities are those that go against the law or regulations but may not necessarily be considered criminal.

  5. Illicit: Illicit activities are those that are prohibited by law or regulations and can encompass both criminal and noncriminal actions.