break a/the law

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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 ?
Home Secretary Theresa May, pictured, yesterday confirmed the Government would legislate to ban cash payments for scrap metal and impose potentially unlimited fines on anyone who breaks the law in this area.
We're putting a stop to cash payments, and imposing unlimited penalties on anyone who breaks the law," she said.
So let's be clear about a basic American principle: When someone breaks the law, when someone misleads the public in an attempt to justify his actions, he needs to be held accountable.
Our job is not to stand up and cheer when the President breaks the law.
Any action which breaks the law will serve no purpose in protecting or supporting the Welsh language.
If someone breaks the law, there certainly should be a consequence," says Monica Pratt of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM).
A spokesman for the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs said: "It is entirely up to any individual to demonstrate or protest but we would condemn anyone who breaks the law of the land or who encourages others to do so.
Imposing the bind-over, magistrate Paul Clark said: "Everyone has the right to protest peacefully but that does not include the sort of disturbance that breaks the law or breaches the peace.