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Thread: illicit, illegal and unlawful

 
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    Default illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Can someone explain which are the differences between these terms?

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Hi there!

    Illicit: Not permitted or allowed, prohibited.

    Illegal: Not authorized by law.

    Unlawful: That which is contrary to law. “Unlawful” and “illegal” are frequently used as synonymous terms, but, in the proper sense of the word, “unlawful,” as applied to promises, agreements, considerations, and the like, denotes that they are ineffectual in law because they involve acts which, although not illegal, i. e., positively forbidden, are disapproved of by the law, and are therefore not recognized as the ground of legal rights, either because they are immoral or because they are against public policy.

    Source: Black's Law Dictionary

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Here's a little more clarification:

    Illegal, unlawful, illicit, illegitimate, criminal, can all describe actions not in accordance with law.

    ILLEGAL
    Illegal refers most specifically to violations of statutes or codified rules; forbidden by law or statute; contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.
    (a criminal act such as rape, robbery, murder, etc.)

    UNLAWFULUnlawful means not sanctioned by or according to law; immoral; contrary to law; illegal. (unlawful conduct ) an archaic word for illegitimate (as a child born out of wedlock)


    ILLICIT

    disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons; not allowed or approved by common custom, rule, or standards (illicit sexual relations; illicit drugs; illicit behavior)
    vicente

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Quote Originally Posted by estefaniar View Post
    Can someone explain which are the differences between these terms?
    From my non technical and certainly layman's point of view, these words are synonyms. I don't think they mean different things.

    I think it is a matter of common usage. For example, nobody talks about "unlawful aliens" but they do talk about "illegal aliens". Nobody talks about "illicit parking" but they do talk about "illegal parking"

    Of all three, I think "unlawful" is what I would expect to see in the body of a bill or a law. It sounds more formal to me.
    For example: "it is unlawful to drink alcohol in Los Angeles county beaches"
    or if someome is being charged in court
    For example: "The district attorney charged the defendant with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon"
    In this last sentence I do not think the court would say "illicit possession".

    Maybe someone with some law background can see a difference.

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Hola Californiaman

    I have a background in law and there is a distinct difference between the three, although all can mean activities or actions contrary to law, common or statutory.

    You are right about illicit. Illicit generally refers to immoral or ethical behavior matters rather than statutory.

    I think it is fair to say that informally, illegal and unlawful are used interchangeably in everyday language.

    However there is a formal difference between LAWFUL and LEGAL.

    Law terms can be complicated, as you know and you could probably hold a class on the definitions and differences between lawful and legal but very simply stated:

    Lawful matters are found in the law and are actual in nature, not implied. That is, there is a law behind the matter.

    Legal implies that matters are in accordance with the law. That is, something is being done properly according to law.
    vicente

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Thanks everybody!


    It seems much more clear now!

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    ¿Y cuáles serían sus respectivas traducciones al español? ¿"Ilegal" para todos los casos?

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Ilícito, Ilegal, y creo que Ilegítimo.

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    Default Re: illicit, illegal and unlawful

    Me parece que la traduccion seria

    unlawful = ilegal
    illegal = ilegal
    illicit = ilicito

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