Warning: The Real Risks Of Picking Up Money From The Ground According To A Legal Expert

Warning: The Real Risks Of Picking Up Money From The Ground According To A Legal Expert

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Stumbling upon a loose bill or a stray coin on your daily walk might spark a moment of excitement. However, before you pocket that seemingly serendipitous find, legal experts suggest you pause and consider the potential implications.

The Temptation of Found Money

It’s an all-too-common scenario: spotting money just lying there on the ground. The old adage ‘finders keepers’ might spring to mind, but according to Gerard Filitti, a senior lawyer at the Lawfare Project, this instinct could lead you into murky legal waters. During a discussion highlighted by LADbible from the Mirror, Filitti outlines why the simple act of picking up found money isn’t as innocent as it appears.

Legal and Ethical Dilemmas

Legal Ownership: Filitti explains, “If you pick up money that isn’t yours, it can be deemed theft.” This stark warning stems from the fact that just because money is lost, doesn’t mean it lacks an owner. The true owner’s temporary unawareness of their loss doesn’t legally transfer ownership to the finder.

Proper Steps to Take: For those who find money, particularly in a public space like a store, Filitti recommends taking actions that go beyond turning it over to nearby shopkeepers. “It’s best to report the found money to the police,” he advises. This action ensures you’re legally covered and makes a genuine effort to return the money to its rightful owner.

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Seeking the Owner: In today’s digital age, Filitti suggests utilizing social media or other avenues to locate the individual who lost the money. If identifiable items like wallets with IDs are found, contacting the owner directly is feasible. Moreover, there’s a legal grace period involved: “After 28 days, if no one has claimed the money, you may legally keep it,” he adds.

Real Consequences

Ignoring these guidelines can have tangible consequences. LADbible recounts an incident involving a woman who faced legal repercussions for keeping £20 she found on the ground. Simply being observed picking up the money was sufficient for her to end up with a criminal record.

Weighing the Risk Against the Reward

Is the quick thrill of finding money worth the potential legal entanglements? Filitti’s insights suggest that viewing such finds as someone else’s loss rather than personal gain could help frame the moral and legal stakes involved more clearly.

The Higher Road

Beyond legalities, there’s a moral aspect to consider. Most would hope for someone to make an effort to return their lost money. Utilizing technology to attempt to reunite the found money with its owner reflects well not only on your moral compass but also fosters a sense of community and trust.

Peace of Mind Over Pocket Change

At the end of the day, the integrity of doing the right thing can offer more satisfaction than any minor windfall. If the money eventually becomes legally yours after due diligence, you can enjoy it without reservations, knowing you’ve acted ethically.

In conclusion, next time you spot some cash lying around, remember that this minor find could have major consequences. It might just be safer—and morally sounder—to leave it or report it than to face regret down the line.

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