An unenforced law (also symbolic law) is a crime which is illegal, but is usually not penalized by a jurisdiction. It is a law which is usually ignored by law enforcement, therefore such laws have no consequences. Some people have criticized such laws claiming that it indicates sometimes the law means what it says, sometimes it doesn't.
The law may be put in place simply for symbolic reasons, but without actual prosecutions taking place. For example speeding is illegal, but patrol officers usually ignore motorists who are 5-10 miles an hour over the legal limit. Automate ticketing systems like computerized cameras will still issue fines in these circumstances in some but not all US states.
Laws which are symbolic typically attempt to persuade rather than enforce, punish or prevent. An example is adultery within the US state of Maryland, where it is prohibited by law with just a $10 fine, but not punishable by imprisonment in any way. The US state of Colorado repealed the adultery statute, effective since 1 July, 2013.
- Victimless crime
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