The Dumbest Laws in Each of the 50 States
In recent weeks, we’ve seen 5-year-olds fined for selling lemonade, pet sitters ticketed for watching cats without a permit, teens handcuffed for selling bottles of water to thirsty people, and efforts to criminalize screen time for kids.
It got us thinking: how many silly, outrageous, and/or superfluous laws are there out there? Here are 50 laws that will make you laugh or scratch your head.
Women can retain all property they owned prior to marriage in the case of divorce, according to Section 30-4-1 of the Alabama Code. However, this provision does not apply to men.
It is legal to turn a picnic table or bench into a boat, but only if it contains all safety precautions like life vests and is registered as a boat, according to the Alaska DMV.
It is illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub, according to an Arizona-based law firm.
It is prohibited to pronounce “Arkansas” incorrectly, according to Arkansas Code Title 1-4-105.
It is forbidden to eat a frog that passed away during a “frog-jumping contest”, according to Article 2-6883 of California’s fishing and game code.
In Aspen, it is illegal to launch a catapult at any building or person, according to Section 15.04.210.
In Meriden, it is illegal for a non-police officer or member of the police department to have a whistle or make the ‘bean police call’ on a whistle, according to Statute 153-7.
In Rehoboth Beach, children can only trick-or-treat on Halloween from 6-8 pm, according to Chapter 193-33. If Halloween falls on a Sunday, children must trick-or-treat on Saturday, October 30 between 6-8 pm.
Pregnant pigs must be unconfined and be able to roam freely when they are pregnant, according to the Florida Constitution 10.21. Only pigs are designated in the constitution as having these rights.
In Athens-Clarke County, a goldfish or any other animal may not be given to someone to entice them to enter a business agreement or game, according to Section 4-1-9.
Hawaii has a law called “Aloha Spirit” that is the coordination of mind and heart within everyone. This allows everyone to emanate happy feelings to one another, according to Statute 5-7.5.
In Pocatello, it is illegal not to smile in public, according to a 1948 “smile” ordinance, which was passed to heighten morale after a hard winter, therefore transforming Pocatello into the United States Smile Capital.
Those under 21 can drink legally, but only if they’re enrolled in a culinary program, according to Section 3-3.
It is illegal to see a hypnotist without a doctor’s note unless you are trying to lose weight or quit smoking, according to Article 20.5-1.
The standard size of all boxes used for picking hops has to be precisely 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 24 ¼ inches deep, according to Statute 210-14.
In Topeka, it is against the law to scream in a haunted house, according to Shawnee County’s Haunted House conduct.
One may not dye a duckling blue and put it up for sale unless more than six are for sale at one time, according to state Statute 436.600.
There is a $500 fine if you instruct a pizza delivery man to deliver a pizza to your friend without them knowing, according to Section 14.68.6.
In Biddeford, it is illegal to gamble at the airport, according to Section 14-2.
In Rockville, swearing is prohibited on sidewalks, streets, and highways, and one can be charged with a misdemeanor for violating the ordinance, according to Section 13-53.
In Massachusetts, shooting ranges are not allowed to have targets that are shaped like humans, according to Part 1, Title XX, Chapter 140, Section 131.
Every year in Michigan, the last Sunday in June will be known as “Log Cabin Day”, according to Act 60, Section 435.241.
It is illegal to grease up a pig to create a game if the aim of the game is to capture it again, according to Statute 343.36.
If a woman gives birth to two illegitimate children, at the same time or separately, she could go to jail for 30-90 days, according to Mississippi Code Title 97-29-11.
Removing mattress tags or bringing an unlabeled mattress into the state is illegal in Missouri, according to Statute 421.007.1.
In Billings, Montana, residents are legally forbidden from raising pet rats, according to Section 4-301. However, if the rats are used as reptile or bird food, the practice is legal.
In Nebraska, persons with STDs cannot marry legally, according to Chapter 42, Section 102.
In Reno, it is illegal to lie down on a public sidewalk, according to Section 8.12.015.
- New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, it is illegal to pick up and collect seaweed off the beach during night hours, according to Title XVIII, Chapter 207:1.
- New Jersey
Wearing a bullet-proof vest while murdering, kidnapping, robbing, or raping is illegal in New Jersey, according to S170.
- New Mexico
In New Mexico, it is criminal – a petty misdemeanor, specifically – to misuse the national anthem or the state anthem, according to Section 30-21-5.
- New York
If you’re a mayor of a New York village, you are not allowed to move the remains of a deceased person from an unused cemetery unless you are moving them to another resting place in the same county, according to Statute 15-1508.
- North Carolina
It is prohibited to use a secret handshake to agree to or do illegal things, according to Statute 14-12.4.
- North Dakota
It is illegal to attempt or perform human cloning, according to Statute 12.1-39-02.
If a person coughs on another person while riding public transportation, the cougher can be arrested for a minor misdemeanor, according to Statute 2917.41.
In Oklahoma, it is illegal to participate in horse tripping in any way, shape, or form. The offense comes with a punishment of a $2,000 fine or one year in jail, according to Statute 21-1700.
In Oregon, farmers can be unknowingly committing a crime if they are driving on the highway with too much hay, according to Statute 164.815.
If you’ve ever been convicted of a felony and you happen to be in Pennsylvania, you’re not allowed to run a bingo game, according to Act 92.
- Rhode Island
It is illegal to use a shopping cart at any other place except for the business labeled on the cart, according to Statute 11-41.1-2. This law also applies to dairy cases, egg baskets, bakery boxes, etc.
- South Carolina
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to play pinball, according to Statute 63-19-20.
- South Dakota
It is unlawful to cause static electricity in the city of Huron, according to Chapter 9.32.010.
It is illegal to share your passwords to any entertainment subscription service (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, HBO), according to Tennessee House Bill 1783.
An atheist in the Lone Star State cannot hold any public office, according to the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 4.
In Ogden, it is legal for animal control or law enforcement officers to have sex with animals, according to Ordinance 13-3-2.Whether the practice is open to the average citizen is unclear.
It is illegal to dress one’s horse up in a disguise and to disguise it as something other than a horse, according to Statute 13-047.
In Virginia, cussing at another person is prohibited by law, according to Code of Virginia 18.2-416.
In Washington, it is illegal to go out in public if you have a cold, according to RCW 70.54.050.
- West Virginia
In West Virginia, it is illegal to hunt any kind of wild animal by using a ferret, according to WV Code 20-2-5.
It is illegal to serve margarine in restaurants in Wisconsin (unless customers specifically ask for it) and in state prisons (with the only exception being medical necessity), according to Chapter 97.18.
In the city of Newcastle, going out in public while cross-dressing is unlawful, according to Sec. 17-14.
[Image credit: Flickr-wp paarz | CC BY-SA 2.0]