The American Bar Association Task Force estimated, back in 1998, that there were 3,000 federal criminal offenses on the books, adding that these laws could be used to enforce as many as 300,000 federal government regulations scattered throughout the 50 titles of the U.S. Code. The Task Force noted that the “present body of federal criminal law [is] so large that there is no conveniently accessible, complete list of federal crimes.”
In 2008, a legal expert, John S. Baker, published a report that stated federal crimes to be well over 4000.
In a university of Chicago law school publication, a former Harvard law professor, William Stuntz, was quoted as saying that the current system is “lawless,” and that we [Americans] are coming “ever closer to a world in which the law on the books makes everyone a felon.”
Overcriminalization in the United States is prevalent at both the state and federal levels. In 2009, Lisa Snyder, a stay-at-home mom in rural Michigan, was accused of illegally running a daycare when all she was doing was watching her neighbors’ kids before the school bus arrived, at no cost. This was deemed an offense punishable by fines and possible jail time for illegal child care.
Read more on Heritage Foundation documented stories of overcriminalization in America