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Is it against the law to dig through someone's trash?
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Is it against the law to dig through someone's trash?

Al Mac Wheel
It depends what you do with it.

Suppose you find a credit card application, and you send it in which change of address so the credit card in the name of the person in the trash goes to your address, then you spend it ... this can put you in jail with every single purchase you made being a different theft.

In most states, you need a search warrant to go through other people trash.

Once they put it out by the road it is property of whoever picks up their garbage. It is not illegal to go through it I would caution you that if they have somehting they are trying to hide and they find you digging through the garbage that may turn into a dangerous situation.

not in Pa.

Bryan W
no... but it's disgusting!!

it is perfectly legal. you have no claims on things you threw away

Yahoo S
Depends where their trash is placed. If it is in their house, then it might well be but not because you checked their trash. If it is placed out for trash pickup then trespassing issues aside you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in your garbage. Now I cannot say that you won't get your *** kicked by your neighbors if they catch you rummaging through their waste!!! Take your chances. Are you paranoid about others or are you nosy and want into the neighbors biz?

Gabriel Hutton
No. After it leaves your house it is considered public property until the trash company picks it up, since it is on public land. There is a Supreme Court ruling on it somewhere.

I wouldn't advise it, what with diseases and all. Plus, you won't make many friends doing that. But the answer is no, it is not illegal. Once the property is placed on the curb it is considered abandoned and the owner has forfeited the property. The determining factor is that the item cannot be on the person's property... it must make it to or past the sidewalk... if there is no sidewalk, you have an interesting legal question on your hands.

N O!!!!!!!!

Charles H
To be on the safe side ask the owner, whatever don't make a mess in the digging.
In C.S.I. they call it dumpster diving.
I call it garbage surfing.

Information Police
There might be local ordinances against it, but in general, it is perfectly legal once it is put on the street for pick up.

Ret. Sgt.
Supreme court answered this long ago. If it is in the trash, it's open to the public. Trash pulls are still routinely used for any number of crimes. I cant recall the case that got to the Supreme court but believe it was syndicate gambling and the markers were in the trash or something like that.

Now, if the trash is inside the house a search warrant would be needed. Usually a trash pull proceeds a search warrant. It is not a fun or glamorous part of police work.

why the heck would u wanna dig through someone elses trash? it would probably be against the law if you were trying to get some personal info. >_<

It depend where your garbage can is located, if is in an alley then it's not illegal, if is inside your property then is illegal because somebody is tresspasing. If is the police looking for some kind of evidence, then it's not illegal if they have a warrant.

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