When someone says "Criminal law may have been broken" I automatically discount their opinions and question their command of the facts. When someone specifies "criminal" law as being broken they are trying to amp the psychological impact of their apparently rhetorical argument. They assume that humans will naturally take them more seriously if they note that "criminal" law has been broken. I find the command to make a value judgement implied by this addition to be offensive. Criminally so, maybe.
And that brings me to my second point. While the rhetorical wizard may upon occassion demonstrate the exception that makes the rule, thus breaking the "criminal" law of discourse, this person will never modify the phrase with "may have". Why, the person that makes such a modification might have sawdust for brains. They might be sixth grade dropouts with an intellectual inferiorty complex trying to drum up their self esteem with what they consider to be two dollar language whilst simultaneously drumming up your blood pressure and outrage. These people might possibly lead such sad lives inside their own heads that one might be considered to have acted appropriately in pitying these sad sad people. Maybe.
Criminal law may have been broken and other untoward acts may have been committed. What other kinds of unethical or criminal things might have happened?
Yeah. He thinks he just blew your minds wide open. In reality, all but a few are offended at the lack of effort. To assume that one can say any uncreative thing that pops into one’s head with the addition of hedge words like may have is just plain rude. Maybe that’s enough of a down home expression that it might carry some weight with that person. You heard it here. The Mayhaps Argument is quite rude.
Senator James Inhoffe, professional speaker of words, makes a mockery of the grand tradition of his chosen profession.
When there is a hall dedicated to statues of people who have held your station in life, it behooves you to at the least mislead cleverly with a certain professional level of skill.