Originally Posted by CaliDude
I understand, but USPS employees have regularly told me that, per standard practice, they may open Media Mail packages to ensure the contents abide by the Media Male packaging rules (e.g. must be a text book). So not sure how they're able to skirt around the 4th amendment. If they do it for Media Mail, I'm sure they have some rule out there that will allow them to open other types of packages.
I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but here is some information about the status in the United States. I'm not offering legal advice, but just saying you should realize a few things. None of this applies internationally, and I don't presume to know any of those rules.
Without going into specifics (you could write a very lengthy law review article on the subject), suffice to say:
1. Postal inspectors can open any piece of mail, media or not, upon probable cause without a warrant, if they believe that it contains a hazardous substance. And believe it or not there was a presidential directive a few years ago that indicated the feds believe even probable cause is unnecessary, and only reasonable suspicion or less may be required. If you think that's illegal, you're probably right -- but do you want to be the one to have to spend thousands of dollars to prove it, when the government has a very large team of lawyers who would be glad to argue that it's perfectly legal?
2. As a matter of federal criminal law, Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1716, provides that knowingly mailing a hazardous substance in violation of postal restrictions (which you are presumed to know) is a crime. And one of the restrictions is that you can't ship perfume by any means other than surface transportation. If a postal inspector decided to open a priority package you've sent, and if it contains perfume, will they prosecute you? Maybe the chance is one in a million, or one in ten million. But again, do you want to take that chance?
3. Not giving legal advice here, just making sure everybody realizes the facts.