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 classic literature ?
But White Fang knew that he had broken the law of the gods.
All the beauty that has ever been in the world has broken the laws of all previous beauty, and unwillingly dictated laws to the beauty that succeeded it,--laws which that beauty has no less spiritedly broken, to prove in turn dictator to its successor.
An Inspector from Scotland Yard will be there this afternoon awaiting your return, and he believes that he has witnesses who will be able to identify you as one who has broken the laws of this country.
Ye girls with golden guineas, ye nymphs with crisp bank-notes, mourn over the husband you have lost among you--over the Rogue who has broken the laws which, as the partner of a landed or fund-holding woman, he might have helped to make on the benches of the British Parliament
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid wrote to Comey to accuse him of partisan actions that may have broken the law.
4million family home in Edgware, North London, made no suggestion he had broken the law.
A judge last October found that it had broken the law by holding two general assemblies without following quorum rules and calling for two similar meetings without informing proper authorities.
The insider added: "They feel they haven't broken the law and they hope the Appeal Court will agree.
The police are correct the van is not breaking the law but had broken the law to be parked in that position in the first place but it has to be seen driving onto the pavement by a police officer at the time for a fine to be issued.
MUCH confusion among Plaid Cymru yesterday as the party worried it may have broken the law with pictures of leader Ieuan Wyn Jones and deputy Helen Mary Jones voting.
Ruling that Google has broken the law but then taking no action against it shows the commissioner to be a paper tiger.
a person who has broken the law and is hiding or fleeing to avoid punishment
Carnegie has also broken the law by not notifying Finansinspektionen regarding this individual credit granting," Finansinspektionen said.
I did not suggest, and nor did Mr Presnaill, that he had not broken the law.