Weird Laws That Still Exist In The US
1 Arkansas – Can’t Honk At A Sandwich Shop After 9 Pm
In 1961, Little Rock, Arkansas city Code stated that a person sounding their car horn at a sandwich shop after 9 pm was prohibited. It is rumored that this new ordinance was only to revise the time that had been previously stated, which was 11 pm. It is sectioned under the title “Drive-ins; sounding of horns.” During this time, if you violated this new Code, you would be fined an amount between $2 and $5.
Be careful not to accidentally push your horn while you are stopped near a Subway—you could probably end up with a misdemeanor. I mean, at this point, we know it could be difficult for police officers to actually enforce this law. If you are on a busy street and are just trying to get the attention of the car in front of you, it would be hard to determine where the car horn actually came from.
2 Georgia – Can’t Eat Fried Chicken With A Fork
If you are planning on visiting Gainesville, Georgia, don’t plan on eating your fried chicken with a fork and knife. In the south, fried chicken is a delicacy that one would be put to shame for consuming with utensils. In fact, the act of eating fried chicken with a fork is actually illegal.
Gainesville sees itself as the poultry capital of the world. Chickens and chicken products help bring in over $1 billion to Gainesville per year. They even have a chicken monument in town. While many people say that this law was just a publicity stunt, there have actually been cases of individuals getting arrested for not following the law. There is a reason that you don’t typically see people eating fried chicken with utensils. It is too hard! There are skin and bones that just get in the way. It’s much easier to just use your hands. Plus, using your hands is quite literally the only way that the law allows you to consume fried chicken.
3 Kansas – No Tire Screeching
For those of you who just got your license and are awaiting the thrill of being behind the wheel- make sure that you are up to date on all Kansas driving laws. Specifically, the one that does not allow for drivers to be able to screech their tires.
Although, this law would be difficult to enforce. There are so many factors that come into play when a car’s tires make a screeching noise. Did they accidentally accelerate too quickly? Maybe come to an abrupt stop? Who knows! It would have to be at the sole discretion of the police officer who witnessed the incident. We still think that if you are driving, you should be extra careful so that you do not happen to make any unnecessary noises.
4 New Hampshire – Can’t Pick Up Seaweed From The Shore
We all know the lengths we would go to so we could protect sea life, but New Hampshire took it one step further by making it illegal to pick up seaweed from the beach. This law states, “If any person shall carry away or collect for the purpose of carrying away any seaweed or rockweed from the seashore below high-water mark, between daylight in the evening and daylight in the morning, he shall be guilty of a violation.”
If you plan on visiting New Hampshire anytime soon, make sure that you and your family are aware of these restrictions. If you aren’t, you could be in a violation of the law and could potentially face consequences if you are caught. It is better off if you just leave the seaweed in the sand where it belongs.
5 West Virginia – No Lewd Behavior Before Marriage
Oh, boy. Although this law went away in 2010, it was still a pretty loaded ordinance during its time. Here is exactly what was stated in the law: “If any persons, not married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or, whether married or not, be guilty of open or gross lewdness and lasciviousness, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than fifty dollars, and may, in the discretion of the court, be imprisoned not exceeding six months”.
But what exactly did they mean by “lewd” behavior? They said that it was for “prosecutions for adultery and fornication, and for lewdly and lasciviously cohabiting together”, so basically, there were a lot of rules to follow if you were dating your partner and yet to be married.
6 Washington – Can’t Kill Bigfoot
This law is basically stating that the existence of Bigfoot is actually real. While we can sit here and debate if this is actually factual or not, this law protects Bigfoot’s existence. If you did happen to find Bigfoot and kill it, you would be charged with five years in prison.
Ever since the order was issued, people from all over the United States took it as a sign that they needed to go and find this legendary creature. And each person who traveled to the state came armed. They made sure that they would be able to defend themselves if they did encounter the infamous Bigfoot. These travelers did not care that they would become imprisoned for their treacherous acts, they just wanted the fame that came with it.
7 Virginia – Can’t Hunt On Sundays
Hunters, you need to be aware of this one! If you plan on going hunting for the weekend, make sure that you are not hunting on Sunday, unless it is raccoons. And that is only until 2 am on Sunday. If it is not within that time frame, it is not allowed, whether it is on private or public property. There are some ways to get around this law, though. For instance, you can still hunt on Sundays if it’s on private property and you have written consent from the landowner.
This information must include the following:
- The identity of the person who has been granted permission
- The scope of the permission
- Landowner’s identity
- The date the permission was given and when it expires
Anyone who plans to hunt on private property must have written consent—verbal consent does not count for permission. If you plan on hunting on public property, you can not hunt or kill any wild birds or wild animals, whether that be with any firearm or other weapons on Sundays.
8 Utah – Can’t Cause A Catastrophe
This law is a pretty common law, just rephrased with a more unique name. What do you think of when you imagine a catastrophe? Is it personal to you or is it something that you imagine that everyone faces? Well, here is what Utah describes this illegal act as: “Any person is guilty of causing a catastrophe if the person causes widespread injury or damage to persons or property”.
The cause of a catastrophe could be done by using “a weapon of mass destruction […], explosion, fire, flood, avalanche, the collapse of a building, or other harmful or destructive force or substance that is not a weapon of mass destruction.” There are some quite severe punishments if you are caught causing a catastrophe. It would be considered a first-degree felony if you knowingly cause it and use a weapon of mass destruction. It would be a second-degree felony if you cause the catastrophe knowingly and use something other than a weapon of mass destruction.
9 Tennessee – Can’t Hold Public Office If You’ve Been In A Duel
If it is your dream to hold a public office in Tennessee, you should double-check if you have ever participated in a duel. If you have, you are not eligible to hold the office. While duels are not as common as they once were, there was definitely a reason behind this law.
This law states that “Any citizen of this state who shall, either in or out of the state, fight a duel with deadly weapons, or send or accept a challenge so to do, or who shall act as a second, or knowingly aid or assist in such duel, shall ever hereafter be incapable of holding any office of honor, trust or profit in this state.”
10 Oklahoma – No Eavesdropping
It is standard practice that when you are in a hotel room to hold a cup up to the wall to hear what all of the commotions are about, right? Well, maybe not standard for everyone. Especially for those in Oklahoma, since eavesdropping is illegal.
The law specifically states, “Every person guilty of secretly loitering about any building, with intent to overhear discourse therein, and to repeat or publish the same to vex, annoy, or injure others, is guilty of a misdemeanor.” Basically, this law is telling you that you need to mind your own business. This is true—if you have to go out of your way to be able to hear what someone else is saying, then you probably do not need to be hearing it anyway. Just be curious and make sure you do not purposely listen in on someone else’s conversations.
11 Arizona – Donkey’s Can’t Sleep In The Bathtub
There is a reason behind everything. For this law, there is quite a sad story that caused the passing of this law. In 1924, a law passed saying that it was illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs. In Kingman, Arizona, there was a man who allowed his donkey to sleep inside in the bathtub at night. One evening, the local dam broke, causing the city to flood. The donkey, who was sleeping in the bathtub, ended up getting washed a mile down the valley.
Luckily, the donkey did survive this event, but it did require people to spend countless hours trying to get him out of the basin. That is exactly what caused this law to come into effect. The town did not want to spend any more time and money trying to evacuate animals from hard-to-reach places because of the negligence of the owners.
12 Mississippi – You Can’t Have 2 Children Out Of Wedlock
This one sounds pretty strange. In 2013, the state of Mississippi enacted a law forbidding a person from having two children if they are not married. This law is under Title 97, Chapter 29 – Crimes against public morals and decency. The law states that “If any person, who shall have previously become the natural parent of an illegitimate child within or without this state by coition within or without this state, shall again become the natural parent of an illegitimate child born within this state, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty days […]”.
So, basically, don’t have kids unless you are married. Even if it’s an accident, you could still be in trouble. It is said that this law was placed due to an issue of morality. Not that we think this should be the choice of the government, but the people deciding to have children.
13 Maryland – Can’t Swear In Public
If you have a potty mouth, we would advise you to stay out of the public in Maryland. This law says that “A person may not profanely curse and swear or use obscene language upon or near any street, sidewalk or highway within the hearing of persons passing by, upon or along such street, sidewalk or highway.” So, if you are on a busy street and you happen to use foul language, you better hope that no one heard you!
This ordinance also states that “any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.” A misdemeanor is typically a less severe punishment in some cases, but if you are a repeat offender, the punishment may start to become more severe. Our advice is to just stay quiet while you are in public, or just refrain from using curse words.
14 Montana – No Pet Rats
In Billings, Montana, people are not allowed to raise pet rats. I mean, we are not sure how many people actually have pet rats for any other reason than to use them as food for their other pets, but who knows? There are definitely people out there who are passionate about the well-being of these rodents. The only downside is that these folks are not allowed to keep them in their home as pets. Who is to say that it is an actual pet, and not an unwanted house guest? So many questions.
This local law says that “It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, harbor, raise or give away rats as pets, toys, premiums, novelties, or for any other purpose except as feed for reptiles or birds of prey or both”. So the good news is that you can technically still have these rodents as “pets” as long as they are being used as food for another animal.
15 Alabama – Can’t Possess A Stink Bomb
In 1957, Alabama outlawed the use and possession of stink bombs. Title 14, Code 1940 states, “It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to make, manufacture, or possess, or to place, or to deposit or throw any stink bombs or tear gas bomb or any substitute or device used therefor which contains foul or offensive odors […]” Even if you have some weird hobbies and want to practice making these stink bombs inside of your home, that would still be considered illegal. The Code also says that you are not allowed to create or possess these bombs in any “public building, or storehouse, or theatre, or motion picture theatre, or any private residence, or any boarding house or other building where people lodge or reside”.
Basically, you are not allowed to have any stink bombs or substitutes for a stink bomb anywhere. Like, not even in the middle of nowhere. If you are caught with one or making one, it would be considered a misdemeanor.
16 Delaware – Can’t Whisper In Church
This unique ordinance states that “No person shall disrupt or disturb any congregation or assembly met for religious worship by noise, talking, or whispering, or by rude or indecent behavior, or by profane language within their place of worship, or within 300 feet of the place of worship.”
If you happen to violate this, it would be considered a civil offense. The act of whispering during worship violates the peace. We aren’t exactly sure if this law came into effect due to the religious nature of the church, or if it is just because someone was angry that they could hear someone else speaking during their holy time. Either way, you better make sure that no one can hear you whisper if you choose to during church.
17 Florida – Women Can’t Fall Asleep Under A Hair Dryer
For women, getting your hair done is one of the most relaxing experiences. You basically get to have someone play with your hair all day and leave with it looking even better. Sometimes, you even feel the urge to take a quick little power nap while you are seated under the hair dryer.
In Florida, though, you might want to fight that urge. If you do happen to fall asleep while under the hair dryer, you could possibly be fined, as well as the salon owner. So, if you live in Florida and are planning on scheduling a hair appointment, make sure that you are prepared. In this case, being prepared means that you make sure that you get enough sleep the night before your appointment, or take a nap before you go. You would not want an unnecessary fine on top of your hair bill as well.
18 Louisiana – Can’t Steal Crawfish
Under Title 14 Criminal Law in Louisiana, it is illegal for someone to steal crawfish from another person. Here is exactly what this citation states, “Whoever commits the crime of theft of crawfish when the misappropriation or taking amounts to a value of one thousand five hundred dollars or more shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years or may be fined not more than three thousand dollars, or both.” This part of the ordinance is only related to the theft of crawfish valued at over $1,500. Which would probably be more crawfish than one person could consume in one sitting.
Here is the second part: “When the misappropriation or taking amounts to less than a value of five hundred dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned for not more than six months or could be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both.” Of course, there are cases for if the person was a previous offender, but still. We don’t recommend that you try and steal crawfish from anyone in Louisiana. There are some pretty severe punishments.
19 Texas – Marriage By Proxy
Have you ever wanted to marry your partner so badly that you pretend to marry someone else? Well, you can do that in Texas! I mean, you can’t really pretend to marry someone else, but you can send someone to fill in for you if you are unable to make it. I feel like this may defeat the whole purpose of actually having a wedding, but who are we to judge?
In Texas, marriage by proxy is when “one person is unable to attend the ceremony and authorizes another adult to fill in for them during the ceremony.” But don’t get too excited just yet. Not everyone is eligible to have a marriage by proxy. People who would like to have this kind of marriage, the person must be a certain military member who is stationed in another country, and therefore unable to attend their own wedding. They must submit an affidavit to the county clerk in order to apply for the marriage license.
20 Oregon – No Practice Of Occult Arts
Are you into astrology? Like to get your fortune told? If you do, you should not plan on practicing these arts while in Oregon. Occult arts are defined as “fortune-telling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, mesmerism, spiritualism, or any other practices generally recognized to be unsound and unscientific whereby an attempt or pretense is made.”
In Oregon, it is illegal to “analyze the personality of a person” like they do in fortune-telling. Phrenology, for example, is the study of the bumps in a person’s skull that predict their mental traits. Also a no-no in Oregon. Mesmerism is basically hypnotizing a person. So, if you have ever been to a state fair and volunteered to go on stage to be hypnotized, you better be glad it wasn’t in Oregon. Another practice that is illegal is spiritualism, which is the belief that the dead come back as spirits and have the ability to communicate with the living. While some of these may not necessarily be classified as a religion, some of them are practiced as if they are.