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Right on Crime | December 5, 2011
Right on Crime has long focused on the increasing scope of criminal law, state and federal. This often includes laws and regulations which criminalize and penalize (sometimes even with incarceration) traditionally non-criminal behavior.
Connecticut now offers yet another example of overcriminalization. Six months ago, the Connecticut Dental Commission made it a crime, punishable by up to five years in jail or a $25,000 fine, to offer teeth-whitening services by anyone other than a licensed dentist—even if the teeth-whitening is performed by the consumer himself.
This means that entrepreneurs who invest in the economy and open their own businesses face steep fines and jail time if they offer a service like teeth-whitening, even though whitening products are available on every supermarket’s shelves. Even the federal Food and Drug Administration considers teeth whitening products to be cosmetic in nature, which means the products need not be administered by a licensed dentist.
The Institute for Justice, a non-profit public interest law firm, and two entrepreneurs forced to shut down their businesses because of the onerous regulation have sued to get the law off the criminal law rolls—a place it never belonged in the first place.