In the tradition of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” American lawbooks’ old-timey legalese often sits around collecting dust … until someone finds it and posts it on the Internet. Read each states weird laws – just think: you could be breaking the law and not even know it!
Alabama: Dominoes may not be played on Sunday. Concurrently, it is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church. Guess you’ll have to play mahjong clean-shaven, then!
Alaska: You cannot view a moose from an airplane, nor can you push a live moose out of a moving airplane. But then, why would you want to if you can’t watch it falling?
Arizona: Donkeys may not sleep in bathtubs. You’ll have to whip out the hideaway bed. Also, if you’re attacked by a criminal or burglar, you may only protect yourself with the same weapon the other person has. Here’s hoping for a bendy straw swordfight!
Arkansas: Keep the locks long, ladies, because teachers who bob their hair will not get raises. And in Little Rock, dogs aren’t allowed to bark after 6 PM. Good thing the postman’s already delivered the mail by then!
California: Residents of this state are guaranteed sunshine – like typical vague lawspeak, though, it is not specified how often. Also, in Carmel, men cannot go outside while wearing mismatched pants and jackets. Stay indoors, fashion victims!
Colorado: For residents and visitors alike, rocks in state parks cannot be mutilated. It would appear the trees are fair game, though. And in an act of rebellion, Colorado mattress owners are allowed to rip the tags off their mattresses. Touché, Centennial State.
Connecticut: Bionic bikers beware: you can be stopped for cycling at speeds over 65 MPH – pedal faster! Mush! Mush! And, maintaining its status as a questionable vegetable, pickles are only officially considered pickles if they bounce.
Delaware: Drive-in theaters cannot show R-rated movies. This begs the question: do drive-in theaters show any movies anymore? Also, one cannot fly over a body of water without sufficient supplies of food and drink … do backyard pools count?
Florida: In an architect’s nightmare, all doors in public buildings must open outward. We brazenly ask: doesn’t “outward” depend on the direction from which you’re approaching the door? Furthermore, showering naked is considered an offense. This gives new meaning to the phrase “bathing suit,” we suppose …
Georgia: Never use profanity in front of a dead body in a funeral home or coroner’s office – save it for the cemetery. It’s also advised that you not carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket on Sundays. What about your front pocket? Jacket pocket? Breast pocket?
Hawaii: Residents who don’t own boats may be fined. But while you save up to buy one, don’t keep coins in your ears – that’s not allowed!
Idaho: Hershey’s could make a killing here – it’s illegal for men to give their sweethearts boxes of candy weighing less than 50 pounds. Talk about a sugar buzz! Men and women alike are also prohibited from fishing on camels’ backs – in Boise, on giraffes’, as well.
What do you think – are any of these still applicable to any situation? Would you like to be part of a team that enforces law? (We hope not these!) Think about starting a Criminal Justice program! In the meantime, lets move on to the rest of the states weird laws!
To recap the high points, there’s a lot to do with interacting with animals – moose and planes, donkeys and bathtubs, giraffes and fishing … the list goes on. We imagine there will be more forthcoming, so let’s dive right in to more weird and bizarre state laws!
Illinois: The English language is not to be spoken, but an alternative isn’t recommended. Us, we think Klingon or Navi. In Chicago, it’s forbidden to eat in a place that’s on fire. Take your s’mores elsewhere!
Indiana: While it’s thankfully not during the summer, lawmakers’ decision to forbid baths from October through March may have ultimately been a bad call. On the other hand, some may be happy to know they can get out of paying for a dependent’s medical care through prayer.
Iowa: In Marshalltown, horses can’t eat fire hydrants. In the Dubuque city limits, hotels must have a water bucket and hitching post out front. In Ft. Madison, firemen are required to practice for 15 minutes before attending a fire. And to cap it off, all one-armed piano players must play for free. We think they should at least get 50% pay.
Kansas: In Lawrence, no one may wear a bee in their hat. We wonder who would want to wear a bee anywhere! And this law sounds like a complicated math problem: if two trains meet on the same track, and neither shall proceed until the other has passed, how do the trains ever move again?
Kentucky: Have ducklings for sale? You can only dye them blue if there’s more than six. Also, in Owensboro, women can’t buy hats without their husbands’ permission. All you single ladies, you better get a ring put on it if you want to wear one.
Louisiana: For biters, chomping someone with your natural teeth is simple assault, while gnawing on your victim with dentures elevates to aggravated. You’ll also be fined $500 for having a pizza delivered to someone without them knowing. Maybe you should stick to crank calls – is your refrigerator running?
Maine: In Wells, cemeteries cannot contain advertisements. There went our plan for tombstone billboards! And in the least politically correct law yet, shotguns must be taken to church in the event of a Native American attack.
Maryland: While dandelions are okay, residents cannot have thistle in their yards. And in Baltimore, it’s illegal to take a lion to the movies. Good thing! We wouldn’t want to be the one to tell it to stop texting during the show.
Massachusetts: Iowa has competition for most weird laws. For instance, mourners at a wake cannot eat more than three sandwiches. Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are locked. Gorillas aren’t allowed in cars’ backseats. Bullets may not be used as currency. And tomatoes cannot be used in clam chowder. Residents better do their research before they do … um, anything.
Michigan: Women must ask their husbands’ permission before cutting their own hair. And in Detroit, willfully destroying your old radio is prohibited. Thankfully we all have MP3 players and cell phones!
Minnesota: No one may cross state lines with a duck atop his or her head. All bathtubs are required to have feet. And mosquitos have been officially declared a public nuisance. I’m sure that will have them all running for the hills – they know when they’re not wanted!
Mississippi: Ever the revolutionary state, here a man cannot seduce a woman by lying and saying he will marry her. There went that traditional pickup strategy! Also, private citizens may arrest anyone who disturbs a church service. We think that might be a little too much power to overlord with …
You can learn more about upholding the law and the ways it impacts your community (in much more normal ways than these do!) by enrolling in a Criminal Justice school!
More totally crazy laws await! Read on to find out what state doesn’t allow duels and which one fines people for flirting. It may not be the ones you think!
Missouri: Single men between 21 and 50 must pay an annual tax of $1. Remember to claim that on your return in April, guys! And in Mole, frightening a baby is a legal violation. No more surprise peek-a-boo, it seems.
Montana: It’s illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone. It would appear that the sheep can be in the passenger seat or backseat, however, without supervision. And in Excelsior Springs, “worrying squirrels will not be tolerated.” It is not clear whether this means squirrels are not allowed to worry, or people are not allowed to mess with squirrels.
Nebraska: Parents may be arrested for letting their children burp in church. New ammo for kids looking to torture their moms and dads! It’s also illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup. What about putting beer in the soup? Toe the line, barkeeps!
Nevada: “Driving” a camel on the highway is not allowed, so you’ll have to find another mode of transportation through Death Valley. In Elko, everyone walking the streets is required to wear a mask. Our vote is for Guy Fawkes.
New Hampshire: Tapping your feet, nodding your head or in any way keeping time to music in a tavern, restaurant or café is against the law. So much for karaoke Thursdays! And, in keeping with many states’ strange Sunday bans, citizens are not allowed to relieve themselves while looking up. No, seriously.
New Jersey: Drivers are required to warn people they pass on the highways before they do so. Yes … isn’t that warning called a turn signal, and don’t most people use it? And, going along with car courtesy, people aren’t allowed to pump their own gas – it must be done by an attendant. Keeping that ’50s feel alive, Jersey!
New Mexico: We’re not sure how it’s determined, but according to state law, idiots may not vote. Probably a wise decision! Also, women in Carrizozo aren’t allowed to appear unshaven in public. Mystery shrouds what area(s) must be shaved, however. We hope not all of them …
New York: As one of the more modest states (ha), law dictates public etiquette pretty hardcore. Women cannot be on the street wearing tight clothing, citizens cannot greet each other by putting their thumbs to their noses and wiggling their fingers, flirting is punishable by a $25 fine, and people in elevators are not allowed to talk to anyone but instead must fold their hands and look toward the door. True story.
North Carolina: Bingo games can’t last more than 5 hours unless they’re held at a fair. Concurrently, serving alcohol at bingo games isn’t allowed. I’d say that’s obvious – who would want to play bingo for more than 5 hours without drinking something?
North Dakota: Need a reason why there aren’t any major sports teams in this state? It’s because beer and pretzels can’t be served at the same time in any bar or restaurant. North Dakota: keeping Buffalo Wild Wings in business. It’s also illegal to fall asleep with your shoes on … we wonder if this is related to the no-beer-and-pretzels thing. Is passing out with shoes on okay?
Ohio: Illegal activities include getting a fish drunk and participating in or conducting a duel. Also, in Canton, if you lose your pet tiger, you have to notify the authorities within an hour. We somehow think that a stray tiger might get noticed pretty quickly …
Oklahoma: Keep your face to yourself! Taking a bite from someone else’s hamburger is not tolerated. It’s also illegal to have the hind legs of farm animals in your boots. Are front legs okay, we wonder? In addition, people can be fined and/or jailed for making ugly faces at dogs. Who knew they were so sensitive?
Oregon: We hope the highway patrol’s on high alert here based on some of the vehicular laws instated. Drivers must yield to pedestrians standing on the sidewalk. Drivers can’t test their physical endurance while driving a car on the highway. Babies can’t be carried on car running boards. And car doors can’t be left open longer than necessary. Is there someone hovering with a stop watch? We wish so.
So, there you have it – are you convinced yet that you should pursue a career in criminal justice? Think of the power! Think of the prestige! Think of the ticket you can write that says “$38 fine for sticking your tongue out at a German shepherd!” Wait! There are still more weird laws, Pennsylvania through Wyoming. We think it’ll be a
Rounding out our state-by-state look at weird laws are these gems. The questions they all bring to mind are, “What in the world happened to bring this into being? How are the ones like ‘Don’t shower naked’ enforced? Is it just on the honor system? Do the people who write these laws laugh while they do so?” We sure would. Now on to the main attraction.
Pennsylvania: Like sleeping on top of a refrigerator under the clear night sky? Well, too bad. You can’t. You also aren’t allowed to use dynamite to catch fish. But the real kickers? Motorists on country roads at night must stop every mile, send up a rocket signal and wait 10 minutes for the road to be cleared of livestock before they continue. Not only that, but if a motorist sees a team of horses coming toward him, he must pull well off the road, cover his car with something that blends in with the landscape, and let the horses pass. We’re supposing this is most relevant in the Pennsylvania Dutch area.
Rhode Island: It’s considered an offense to throw pickle juice on a trolley. There went Saturday night! And, apparently chock-full of cannibals, residents may not bite off another’s leg. To help reduce cannibalistic temptation, Providence has made it illegal to wear transparent clothing.
South Carolina: In Fountain Inn, horses must wear pants at all times. Well, okay – but only as long as they match their shoes! And in Greenville, at Furman University, the drinking age on campus is 60. You could turn 21 almost three times by then!
South Dakota: Sleeping in cheese factories is a big no-no. And any movies that show police officers being struck, beaten or treated in an offensive manner are forbidden. We’re guessing this one’s the most enforced law on our lists!
Tennessee: In Memphis, women driving cars is illegal unless there’s a man in front of the car waving a red flag to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians. It’s like a parade every day! However, it is legal to pick up and eat roadkill. Finders, keepers!
Texas: Criminals are required to give their victims 24 hours notice, verbally or written, and explain the nature of the crime they plan to commit. It’s like a poor man’s Minority Report! This being the case, it also needs to be said that it’s illegal to sell your eye. Vision scan identification be darned!
Utah: A clear attempt at monopolizing migratory habits, birds in this state legally have the right of way on all highways. Good thing you’ve got a giant lake for them to all visit, Utah! Also, in Salt Lake County, no one is permitted to walk down the street carrying a paper bag that contains a violin. Can it be a plastic bag?
Vermont: Wives must get written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. Is there ever a time when a husband would say no? And in Barre, all residents shall bathe every Saturday night. We hope not all together.
Virginia: Children are not supposed to trick-or-treat on Halloween. We imagine this puts Virginia significantly below the average number of November 1 sugar comas. It’s also illegal to tickle women. Must have been some persistent guy for that law to be written …
Washington: X-rays cannot be used to fit shoes. We personally have always felt trying on shoes worked best. And in Wilbur, it’s illegal to ride an ugly horse. Isn’t beauty skin deep and in the eye of the beholder?
West Virginia: If you make fun of someone who doesn’t accept a challenge, you could be jailed for up to six months. Too bad Marty McFly lived in California – he could’ve gotten rid of Biff really quick! It’s also prohibited to whistle underwater. Would anyone hear you if you did?
Wisconsin: Margarine may not be substituted for butter in restaurants unless it is requested by the customer. We guess they really can’t believe it’s not butter! In Sun Prairie, cats are forbidden from entering cemeteries. Someone’s watched too many Stephen King movies.
Wyoming: New buildings that cost over $100,000 to build must allot 1% of funds to artwork for the building. Way to support those starving artists, Wyoming! And it’s illegal to wear a hat that obstructs people’s view in a public theater or place of amusement. We’d really like it if more states would adopt this and also make it illegal to do anything with your phone during a movie.
So, that brings us to the end of these weird and crazy laws. We hope we haven’t deterred you from any possible interest you may have in a criminal justice career! You can read more at www.dumblaws.com if this just isn’t quite enough for you. Tell us which one of these laws is your favorite!
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