I am a firm believer in civil disobedience and resistance to tyranny. If my life was hard because my country forbade freedom of belief, I would break the law in a civil, nonthreatening manner. If the police showed up and told me to confiscate my Bibles, I would calmly say no, tell them that I have no desire to hurt anyone, and may I please obtain legal counsel. If they continued, i would refuse to speak or hand over the Bible. Resistance begins with the little things. You don't need a gun to resist tyranny.
First I want to add this question is asked in a way that sounds as if breaking the law is unethical or wrong. Law is not equal to ethics, especially in tyrannical societies. That said, not all laws are unethical. In fact quite the contrary. Murdering someone out of malice is not excusable. Even if your life is hard and it was the only way for you to make some money; to be a hit man.
Therefore, one needs to ask his or herself that, if they know they are on the "wrong side of the law", are what they doing unethical in any way? Is it a means of survival, a life or death situation? Is it for reasons of freedom and liberty (say reading a bible in countries that it's forbidden like another person said)? If you can in good conscience break the law then I will say go for it. However if you conscience is bothering you, then chances are don't do it.
What is a society? A society is group of people living together in a community with shared laws, traditions and values. Everyone has intrinsic basic human rights, but those rights are limitless until it infringes upon others' s rights. That is the limit, so that people can live in relative harmony.
Laws are in place as a way of organizing the limits of these human rights. A violation of a law implies that someone has violated another's human rights for something, be it right to learn, right to property, etc. I'm sure you all have had a fair amount of times where life just sucked, and you felt extremely upset and wanted to take revenge on the world, how unfair it was when you were unemployed for many months. But did you break the law to make yourself feel better? No, because you knew that someone else would be hurt too by your actions.
I agree that for some people who have had unfortunate luck in their childhood but that does not mean it is okay to hurt other's interests or infringe upon their rights. After all, those other people have done nothing wrong and were too busy with their own lives to make ends meet. The best we can do is to support those people who have had unfortunate childhoods and provide them with opportunities to succeed later in life.
But we MUST prevent them from breaking the law, because it is unacceptable to be self-interested when the rights and interests of other benevolent people are at stake.
No one has a right to break the law and hurt other people.
But if you look into the background of just about any killer and rapist you see a troubled childhood. Most people engaging in crime are acting out on very deep seated emotions or they are not sure how else to get ahead in the world.
More support for these people may mean less crime.