Originally Posted by Unregistered
...is getting busted running and illegal TVR a "criminal" offense or a "civil" offence in the USA?
Hey super, in the US, criminal law typically is prosecuted by the government, and civil law is usually prosecuted by private parties. So, to answer your question, running an illegal TVR is a criminal offense, as it is a violation of a County statute which would be enforced by the government.
Keep in mind, the US legal system distinguishes between different classes of criminal offenses. For example, the federal government generally considers a crime punishable by more than five days up to a year in jail to be a misdemeanor, while considering crimes punishable by greater than a year in prison to be felonies; crimes of five days or less in jail, or no jail at all, are considered infractions. This is in contrast to other common law jurisdictions like Canada, Australia, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, where crimes are divided into "summary offences" and "indictable offences." Maybe you're familiar with one of these systems? All this being said, without directly consulting the statutes, I couldn't tell you where offenses like illegal operation of a TVR and evading excise tax payments fall on the spectrum. Probably, the other poster's guesses of a misdemeanor for the former and a felony for the latter are correct.
If you're really interested in US Law, but not enough to go to law school in the US to learn all of its intricacies, I suggest that you get a hold of the Law and Order TV Series DVD box sets for a few seasons, and spend a few weeks familiarizing yourself with how it all works. At the end of it you'll be at least as qualified to practice law as most US attorneys, and you might even be ready to pass the legal bar exam. You might also find it highly enjoyable - possibly even more enjoyable than windsurfing or making random posts on internet forums. In one of the show's most interesting episodes, a reputable dentist hires a prostitute to squash bugs underfoot on the floor of his office - this happens to be an established sexual fetish known as giantessophilism; its adherents, whose mannerisms and conduct bear a striking resemblance to those of poster SteveC, are known as "crush freaks." He compensates her with free dental work. Legal complications ensue, after his assistant is mysteriously murdered in an adjoining office...
Just in case you'd like to be even more mystified on the not-so-fine points of US law, consider this: in the mid-1990s, renowned former American Football player and celebrity OJ Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his wife in criminal court, and found guilty and liable in civil court. America, love it, or leave it.