break a law

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Also found in: Legal.

break a/the law

To do something that is illegal. If you shoplift, you are breaking the law, period. The statutes are different in different places so sometimes you can break a law without even knowing it!
See also: break, law

break a law

 and break the law
to fail to obey a law; to act contrary to a law. Lisa broke the law when she drove the wrong way on a one-way street. If you never break the law, you will never get arrested.
See also: break, law
References in periodicals archive ?
"I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law.
I suggest that the traffic department allow all drivers to catch these hasty drivers by taking pictures while they break the law and forward it to police for action.
John Ryley told the Leveson inquiry that occasionally a reporter may break the law in pursuit of a story.
However, he warned that cyclists who break the law can be arrested by gardai and fined in court.
Boro4215 It would be nice to see the same checks taking place in the town centres on a Saturday night, which are over run with under-age drinkers ballboy It's interesting to note that when a council employs a "child" to break the law to discover if someone else is breaking the law they are applauded.
And it would not be a surprise if the ridiculous group that defends the right of the bird-trappers to break the law, argued that maintaining our cultural heritage and traditions -- the justification for breaking the law - was more important than tourism and money.
Those who break the law for the second time will be forced to pay LE 10,000, serve a six-month prison sentence and their establishments forced shut temporarily.
If you break the law, if you set out to do harm, if you plot, scheme and lie, you will go to prison.
"Our officers are being extra vigilant in targeting those responsible for acts of criminal damage and will have no hesitation in arresting people who break the law."
citizens who broke the law smuggling guns to the nascent Jewish state proved there are times when it's acceptable to break the law.
During a promotional appearance in June on Bill O'Reilly's show, the following exchange took place: O'Reilly asked, "Did she break the law" during the Whitewater investigations?
Officials involved in youth justice services "tended to think that ASBOs were overused and had little positive impact on behaviour." And they also feared the orders were making offenders combative, undermining more thoughtful efforts at crime prevention, and giving kids ever newer and pettier ways to break the law.
'If you break the law, you break the law, there are consequences,' he said.
When the police and legal bigwigs question why there are so many criminals on the streets, perhaps they should consider that providing free accommodation, complete with luxuries that the working man and woman have to pay for, is simply offering criminals free incentives to break the law.
The President's decision that he can break the law says far more about his attitude toward the rule of law than it does about the laws themselves.